Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heritage Trail Construction To Start!

Heritage Trail Extension Construction to Start, 
One of several National Trail Day® events in Area.
Southbridge: Saturday June 4th will see the start of construction of the last incomplete section of The Heritage Trail, a portion the regional Titanic Rail trail.  This section will take the Heritage Trail from its current terminus which is point approx 2000 feet up from West Street School to Marjorie Lane, an additional distance of 1100 feet.  When completed this trail will allow for trail users to traverse from West St School thru Westville Park and up to the Ed Calcutt Bridge a distance of 3.5 miles.  
Funding for this $36,000.00 construction project is a partnership between the Recreation Trails Grant program of the Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), The U S Army Corps of Engineers, Westville Lake, The Clair Birtz Trust and the Town of Southbridge. Donations are also being received from Pioppi Construction, Bertin Engineering and East Acres Farm.  
Design, engineering and permitting work has started and on Saturday, June 4th the initial phase of tree and brush removal will begin. It is projected the construction to take approx 4 months, with final loam and seeding and clean up to take place in late September.  The completed trail will be 10’ wide with a firm hard pack fine gravel surface which is ADA compliant, and have grades of no greater than 8%.  Drainage, 2’ wide grass shoulders and an informational kiosk located at Marjorie Lane will complete this work.
Saturday June 4th is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® (NTD) and this Southbridge trail project is one of several National Trails Day® events in the area. The Communities of Sturbridge and Brimfield as well as the Corps of Engineers will be holding morning work projects with Sturbridge and the Corps also conducting family friendly trail hike events in the afternoon. All work projects will go until 12 noon. Projects will take place rain or shine. Afternoon trail hikes will be cancelled in case of rain.
Southbridge volunteers are asked to meet at the Ranger Office of Westville Lake on 200 Marjorie Lane at 8:30 am.  Please wear sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants and heavy duty work gloves and bring along a water bottle. 
In Brimfield volunteers are asked to meet at the newly constructed Grand Trunk Trail Main Street Trail head parking lot located at 120 Main Street. Work will consist of grading loam, raking and seeding the trail edges of this newly installed parking lot and trail section. Rakes and wheelbarrows are requested along with water bottles and work gloves.  Registration starts at 8:30 am.
In Sturbridge volunteers are asked to meet at 10 Shattuck Rd, the “back gate” of the OSV access Rd at 8 am for registration, work here will involve spreading fine gravel to complete the trail surface of the universally accessible Arbutus Park trail.  At 2 pm Sturbridge Tree Warden Tom Chamberland will conduct a hike along the Old Growth Trail, a short trail off of the Arbutus Park trail in the Leadmine Mt area talking about “Reading the Forested Landscape” a book by Tom Wessels.  
At Westville Lake Park join Park Rangers at 2 pm in the large picnic shelter for a family scavenger hunt and interpretive hike of the Westville Lake community trail.  Kids will be instructed on searching for “clues” of our native plants and animals and all can learn of the Corps stewardship of the Westville lake area and some of its history.
National Trails Day® is sponsored by the American Hiking Society with support from several national retailers of outdoor products.  The slogan for NTD 2011, Made With All Natural Ingredients, is an open invitation to all Americans to get outside and connect with local hiking clubs, outdoor retailers, local parks and recreation departments or federal land managing agencies to experience everything the great outdoors has to offer. National corporate sponsors include Backpacker Magazine, Columbia, Eastern Mountain Sports, Fetzer®, Merrell, The North Face, and partners, REI, and American Park Network.  For more information on NTD visit the American Hiking society web site:
For more information on local NTD events, to preregister or to make a donation contact Park Ranger Tom Chamberland at 508-347-3705 or email

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