The Mass Central Rail Trail is a project that will always need local help.
Do you have some time on your hands? An interest in doing something that'll positively impact your community for generations?
Are you interested in taking on the hardest thing you'll likely ever do in your life?
READ THIS STORY. IT WILL INSPIRE YOU.
Read this story. To the right is the cover for Spritsail magazine from the winter of 2002. This is a publication of the Woods Hole Historical Society on Cape Cod. LINK HERE to the story.
This issue tells the story of how the Woods Hole Branch of the New Haven Railroad became transformed into the Shining Sea Trail.
In the early 1970s, the two ladies on the cover, (L) Barbara Burwell and (R) Joan T Kanwisher thought they had a great idea when they found out that the railroad was ceasing service to the ferry dock.
They thought that a walking or biking pathway would be a great thing for the community to pursue. Little did they know how hard it would be and how it would change their lives in ways they never expected.
It turned out that a neighboring property owner didn't like the idea of the public being able to use the pathway so he bought a section near his house before the town could move forward.
The story has twists and turns. Back then, the state had no role in protecting the former RR corridor. The state rep then proposed and got passed, two laws that protect corridor in the state. That took a few years though. The town had to use Eminent Domain to re-acquire the missing piece purchased by the neighbor. The neighbor appealed the ED taking--all the way to the Supreme Court in Mass who then approved it. First time in the U.S. that a state SJC ruled on this.
Within a few years, the state DOT began buying corridor in about 80+ communities from both the B&M RR and the old New Haven RR where both live railroads and dead railroads were located. Most of the trails being developed in Eastern Mass owe their conversion to this case in Falmouth.
If you are interested in taking part in an effort on the MCRT. There are a couple of communities in west-central Mass that could use your help.
Craig Della Penna, volunteer coordinator, MCRT
413 575 2277
Click on the image above to go to a short video that tells how several laws were created that save former RR corridor in Massachusetts from nefarious uses.