Sturbridge: The Grand Trunk Trail Blazers in partnership with the Town of Sturbridge Trail Committee and Public Lands Advisory Committee are hosting a guided trail walk on Saturday April 10th, 1 PM at the Westville Lake Park, 115 Wallace Rd. The walk will be conducted by U S Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger and local trail expert Tom Chamberland. Tom serves as Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division's regional trail expert, and is certified in the Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) by American Trails. He has been involved in designing and building trails for some 10 years, and has consulted with the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the costs of adoption of federal standards in building accessible trails. Tom serves as the Corps of Engineers representative on the National Trails Training Partnership program (NTTP) which is an advisory board of American Trails and is a member of the National Water Trails advisory group. He has participated in several Professional Trail Builders Conferences, and attended 2 National Trails Symposiums. Locally he has served as the Corps representative on the development of the Grand Trunk Trail/Titanic Rail Trail regional trail committee and has recently become a member of the Central Mass Regional Planning Agency’s advisory task force to create a regional Bicycle and Pedestrian plan.
Tom will lead a walk that will cover the 1.8 mile Federal Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) compliant Westville Lake Community Trail system. Participants will see first hand the various techniques and materials used to construct this accessible trail. Topics to be covered are lessons learned in good trail design and layout along with the Federal Forest Service's universal trail design standards. Participants will also get to experience various trail surface materials, grade, slope, bridge design and drainage, as well as sustainable trail design and construction techniques for multiple as well as single use trails as they are being designed and built at the Westville Lake Project. Signage, the Corps volunteer trail maintenance program, multiple use conflict management, and vandalism control/prevention will also be discussed. In short, if you ever wanted to know anything about trails, this is the "hands on" presentation to attend. The walk will be held on Saturday, April 10th at 1 PM and last approximately 3 Hours. Rain date will be Sunday, April 11th. The walk will start at the trail head parking lot located just outside the Westville Lake Park at 115 Wallace Rd. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Trail surfaces may be soft depending on recent weather/spring time conditions. Trail Access Information (TAI) is posted in the trail head kiosks located at 1115 Wallace Rd in Sturbridge and 200 Marjorie Lane in Southbridge. TAI is also available on line at: http://www.trailexplorer.org/
The Sturbridge Trail committee has recently undertaken a project to develop a town wide trail master plan. Many of the sustainable trail design techniques used by the Corps will be considered as a part of this master plan. A discussion of the current status of the master plan process will be held at the end of the hike. The Grand Trunk Trail/Titanic Rail trail is being designed and constructed to meet the not only the Federal ABA accessibility standards, but also sustainable multiple use design criteria. If you have any interest in any of the local ongoing trail initiatives, what it means to build a sustainable trail, universal access, or have any other concerns or trail related questions this is the presentation to attend. For more information on the regional trail initiative contact President Pat McGarrah of Grand Trunk Trail Blazers at:email@example.com or to become involved with the Town of Sturbridge Trail initiatives contact Randy Redetzke, Chair Sturbridge Trail Comm at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Submitted by Tom Chamberland