Heather Clish, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s director of conservation and recreation policy, said that in addition to contributing to conservation work, the group will offer its expertise in trail maintenance and volunteer organizing, helping with trail marking, signs, and information, “so that people make use of the great treasure that it is.” Maps are available on the alliance’s website, www.baycircuit.org.
Clish has walked part of the trail in the Ward Reservation in Andover several times with her children. The overlook at Holt Hill, she said, makes it appear that nothing but forest separates the viewer from the Boston skyline. One thing she loves about the trail, she said, is that she and the children don’t have to walk far to leave the pavement, “and then we can get home in time for naps.”
In Wayland, a section of proposed trail would connect the center of town to the Nobscot Mountain area in Sudbury and Framingham, mostly via the Mass. Central Rail Trail, which is under development. After long delays, French said, work on this segment is progressing as the result of an agreement between two state agencies, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. In the meantime, the trail traces a temporary route along local roads and open space.
Farther south, work is proposed for Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and West Bridgewater. French said Bay Circuit volunteers would like to reroute a West Bridgewater section from a country road onto agricultural land owned by Cumberland Farms. Another section would link the Bay Circuit Trail from a former iron works property in Bridgewater to the East Bridgewater town common.
The East Bridgewater portion has been complicated, he said, by divergent interests and views. The MBTA is willing to transfer a parcel it owns to the town with no out-of-pocket cost, but with conditions on environmental liability, he said.
Near the trail’s southern terminus at Kingston Bay, a connection between Pembroke and Duxbury, now virtually complete, would create a loop of about 25 miles through Duxbury, Pembroke, and Kingston.
Although the vision of a regional greenway has been in place since 1929, the trail’s modern era began in the 1980s when the state awarded grants toward the project. When the money ran out, French, already a volunteer, was asked to found the alliance so volunteers could carry the dream forward, he said. The alliance was founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1992.
Completing the Bay Circuit Trail and boosting awareness is still important today, Ward said, because as development continues, public access to open space becomes more difficult to achieve. Advocates aim to make enjoying the outdoors easier.
“If you accept that value, this flows easily,” he said. “That’s a great thing about the original concept that still holds true.”
Jennette Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.