Squannacook River Rail Trail status page


Squannacook Greenways wins $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts

Jun 19, 2013 : Squannacook Greenways is proud to announce that we have been awarded an $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts to kickstart a fundraising drive for the construction of the Squannacook River Rail Trail. The planned Squannacook River Rail Trail will be a 3.7 mile stone dust rail trail on the existing MBTA rail bed, with a western end in Townsend center. It will travel east just south of Route 119, passing behind the Harbor Village Shopping Center, where it will parallel Townsend Road in Groton until it reaches the Bertozzi Wildlife area.

Unlike other rail trails in Massachusetts, the Squannacook River Rail Trail is not being built by a town or the state. The trail is instead being built by our local non-profit, Squannacook Greenways. All the money needed to build this trail will be raised by Squannacook Greenways. This is possible because we are building a stone dust rail trail, which is much less expensive to build and maintain than a paved trail. Our total budget for the 3.7 mile trail is between $150,000 and $200,000. For comparison, a paved trail in Massachusetts is estimated to cost about one million dollars a mile. Our trail will cost 1/20th of that per mile. With this generous grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, along with money given directly by our board, we are already at 15% of our goal, before we have even started external fundraising.

 

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts logo

 


MBTA demolishes dilapidated storage shed off Depot St in Townsend

Mar 27, 2013 : The MBTA today demolished the long-decaying storage shed along Depot Street in Townsend. This will help make way for a larger parking area for the trail's terminus in Townsend.

Shed on Depot St before demolition

MBTA shed being demolished

The MBTA storage shed off Depot Street in Townsend before and during demolition.

 


Squannacook Greenways outlines plans for the road ahead

Nov. 24, 2012 : In the next few months, Squannacook Greenways' goal is to come to a final, detailed agreement with DCR. This agreement will spell out any steps we will still need to take before the actual lease is signed. One such step we have already agreed on is our purchasing environmental insurance, which will involve fundraising or grant writing on our part.

Once the agreement with DCR is in place, our group will move forward with two main goals - 1) funding our rail trail, and 2) completing the design and permitting stage. To fund our trail, we will be writing grants and doing fundraising. We will also have a membership drive.

Design and permitting will be another large undertaking. Permits are required at both the town and state level. Engineering design will be required at parking lots, where the trail transitions to a sidewalk, and in certain environmentally sensitive locations. The design phase will also include offers to meet with abutters to discuss individual concerns. Throughout this process of moving toward the day the trail opens, there will be many opportunities for you to help make this trail a reality. Stay tuned to this website or our facebook page for more updates in the near future!.

Read more in our November 2012 newletter.

Squannacook Greenways Board of Directors

The focus for the Squannacook Greenways board is now turning toward design and permitting, along with funding our trail.

 


Townsend Board of Selectmen vote to give Squannacook Greenways a letter of support

Oct. 23, 2012 : On Tuesday, October 23rd, the Townsend Board of Selectmen voted to send a letter of support of the rail trail project to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Much of the credit for that goes to the many supporters who turned out to speak up for us, and we all want to express our sincere thanks to each and every one of you! We would also like to thank the Townsend Board of Selectmen for putting on this public forum, and for voting to support us. For more details, see the Townsend Times article.

Thanks are due also to the Groton Board of Selectmen, who also sent DCR Commission Lambert their letter of support the same week. Thanks to Townsend and Groton, Squannacook Greenways is now in a position to move ahead with this project. Look for a detailed description of the path ahead in our November newletter. If you are not subscribed to our newsletter, simply enter your email below. With your help, this rail trail project can keep moving forward!

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The rail bed near Meetinghouse Road

The rail bed near Old Meetinghouse Road in Townsend.


Squannacook Greenways needs YOU at the October 23 Townsend Board of Selectmen meeting!

Oct. 14, 2012 : On Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 at 7 pm at Memorial Hall in Townsend, there will be a critical Board of Selectmen meeting that may decide the fate of the Squannacook River Rail Trail. At this meeting, the public is being invited to express their views. We understand everyone has busy lives, but if you believe having a rail trail would make life in our town better, this meeting is perhaps the most important chance to make your voice heard.

Read all the details in our October 2012 newletter.

Biking on dangerous route 119

Please attend the Oct.23rd meeting and help give give our kids an alternative to riding their bikes on Route 119.


Squannacook Greenways sends out its first newsletter - Sep 2012

Sep 8, 2012 : Squannacook Greenways sends out our first newsletter, dated September 2012. In this issue, you will find the following articles:

  • What's the plan to build the rail trail?
  • Squannacook Greenways reaches agreement with DCR
  • The rail trail's fate in the hands of the Townsend BOS
  • Plans for abutter outreach
  • Rail trail construction will boost local economy

If you would like to sign up to receive our newsletter in the future, please enter your email in the box to the right. We plan to send at most one email per month. You can also find out more by visiting us on facebook.

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Squannacook Greenways meets with the Townsend BOS to ask for agreement to build sidewalk

Aug 17, 2012 : Members of Squannacook Greenways met with the Townsend Board of Selectmen on Aug. 14, 2012. See the section below for details. As described in the Townsend Times article, the board delayed a vote until the next meeting, when feedback from Police Chief Marshall should be available.


Squannacook Greenways reaches agreement with DCR to proceed with Squannacook River Rail Trail

Aug 14, 2012 : Squannacook Greenways is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to build the Squannacook River Rail Trail. Squannacook Greenways is following the vision for building this rail trail laid out by the official Townsend and Groton town committees. That vision was that a non-profit should build the rail trail, following the successful example of Wachusett Greenways and the Mass Central Rail Trail.

The rail bed in Townsend and Groton is owned by the MBTA, and in order to build the rail trail, a governmental body needs to sign the MBTA lease. This lease requires the governmental entity that signs it to accept responsibility for environmental issues. Both Townsend and Groton have expressed reservations about accepting that liability, and so Squannacook Greenways turned to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for help.

Squannacook Greenways proposed that DCR sign the MBTA lease, and that Squannacook Greenways would sign a memorandum of agreement with DCR giving Squannacook Greenways sole responsibility for construction and maintenance of the rail trail. Squannacook Greenways has been working with DCR for the past year to verify our commitment to this project. We have written a detailed business plan, raised over $10,000 from our Board of Directors alone, and gathered numerous letters of support.

On May 24, 2012, members of the Squannacook Greenways board met with DCR Commissioner Lambert and members of his staff, and reached a conditional verbal agreement to move ahead with the plan described above. Commissioner Lambert requested that Squannacook Greenways buy environmental insurance and name DCR as an additional insured. He also asked that both the towns of Groton and Townsend put in writing those ways in which they have already agreed to assist in the building of the rail trail.

For Townsend, we are asking the Board of Selectmen to write a letter committing the town to pursue building approximately 900 feet of sidewalk in the Townsend Harbor area. Building this sidewalk was a key recommendation in the town rail trail committee's report, because it removed a number of serious concerns in that area. The town would only need to do the sidewalk design, funding for which has already been approved in a previous town meeting. In addition, we would like Townsend to commit to providing standard police support for the trail.

It is important to note that because Squannacook Greenways will be building and maintaining the rail trail, the towns have no environmental liability for the trail, and have no commitment to spending any town funds to support this trail.

Every member of the Squannacook Greenways Board would like to thank Commissioner Lambert for supporting us and making this trail possible. In an era of tight budgets, he has found a ground-breaking way to use public-private partnerships to get more done for the people of our state while using fewer resources. Once the agreement with DCR is complete, Squannacook Greenways is planning on launching membership and fundraising drives. We will also be starting trail walks. After permits have been granted, we will be holding volunteer days to start work on the trail. We look forward to working together as a community to bring this trail to reality.

Squannacook Greenways logo

Made possible by

DCR logo


Squannacook Greenways is now an official 501(c)(3)

Feb 14, 2012 : Squannacook Greenways, Inc. has received notification from the IRS that we are now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit. This means that all donations to Squannacook Greenways are fully tax deductible.


Squannacook Greenways, Inc. is incorporated

Sep 14, 2011 : Squannacook Greenways, Inc, is incorporated as a non-profit. The purpose of our organization is to build the Squannacook River Rail Trail following in the model of the Wachusett Greenways. Read how we plan to do it.

Squannacook Greenways Board of Directors

Squannacook Greenways Board of Directors. Front row left to right: Joan Wotkowicz, Steve Meehan, Bruce Easom, Robert Hargraves. Rear: Alfred Gadway, Bill Rideout, Peter Cunningham, Pete Carson, Mark Cram. Not pictured: Ray Jackson, Rollin Willis


Pan Am Railways planning to abandon the entire Greenville spur

Jul 1, 2011 : Pan Am Railways has signaled its intention to abandon the entire Greenville spur - opening the possibility of the Squannacook River Rail Trail extending all the way to Ayer center and intersecting with the Nashua River Rail Trail. The last customer for that spur, PolyOne of Ayer, has ceased railroad operations from the Ayer facility.

Iron Horse at work

Map showing possible future connection with Nashua River Rail Trail and MBTA.


Townsend and Groton present findings to BOS - suggest non-profit building stone dust trail

Feb 1, 2011 : The Townsend and Groton rail trail committees each presented the results of their joint interim report to their respective Boards of Selectmen. This report discussed a new idea for building the Squannacook River Rail Trail. The idea is closely based on the example of Wachusett Greenways, a non-profit group that built the stonedust Mass Central Rail Trail. The committees recommended that a non-profit that is presently forming build and maintain the rail trail, freeing the towns from any fiscal responsibility or liability. This new non-profit is planned to be called Squannacook Greenways.

The report also pointed out that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) would play a key role in making this possible. Right now the MBTA owns the rail bed, and is offering a lease for one dollar for the town or state agency that would accept environmental liability. This liability worried both towns of Townsend and Groton. Right now, Squannacook Greenways is discussing the possibility that DCR would sign that lease, but then allow Squannacook Greenways to build and maintain the trail. This public/private partnership would leverage the resources of DCR to allow Squannacook Greenways to build the trail without burdening DCR with any direct costs.

In the meeting with the Townsend Board of Selectmen on Feb. 1, 2011, two routing options were also discussed. As detailed in the engineering study, the rail trail could either follow the existing rail bed in the Townsend Harbor area behind the Reed Homestead, or could go along a sidewalk to be built between the Shepherds' business and the Harbor Church parking lot. For reasons detailed in the joint interim report, the committee unanimously recommended the sidewalk route. Andy Sheehan noted that the state had offered to build a sidewalk along Route 119 if the town paid for the design, and that the town had already allocated $100,000 for that design. That $100,000 was originally intended to design a sidewalk from North Middlesex Regional High School to Townsend center, but that amount was found to be far too little, and so had not been spent. The Townsend Selectmen indicated support for pursuing the possibility of using that design money for this small section of sidewalk.


Groton and Townsend committees meet with Iron Horse Preservation Society

Aug 12, 2010 : Members of the Townsend and Groton rail trail committees met with Ryan Hattrup of the Iron Horse Preservation Society (www.ironhorsepreservation.org). This non-profit is involved with numerous stone dust rail trail projects in our area, and is in the process of completing a trail in Danvers. Their goal is to maximize value from the existing track infrastructure, and tries to build all or part of the stone dust trail based on that alone. They have build a strong working relationship with the MBTA/Transit Realty, and both committees felt that further investigation was very worthwhile.

Iron Horse at work

Iron Horse Preservation at work in Danvers.


Committee members tour rail trail built by Wachusett Greenways

Apr 28, 2010 : Members of the Townsend and Groton rail trail committees took a tour of the Mass Central Rail Trail build by Wachusett Greenways with founding member Ed Yaglou. This section of the Mass Central Rail Trail is a stone dust trail built by a volunteer group with grants, but without federal highway funding. The committee are considering a similar approach for the Squannacook River Rail Trail. Construction and maintenance issues were discussed. See pictures of the tour. Wachusetts Greenway

Groton and Townsend submit joint rail trail Project Need Form to MassHighway

Sep 2 , 2009 : The towns of Groton and Townsend submitted a joint Project Need Form to MassHighway for the Squannacook River Rail Trail. This Project Need Form will trigger a formal study of the project by MassHighway, and will help the Groton and Townsend town committees further research the financial feasibility of the rail trail. Submission of this document was approved by the Board of Selectmen in both towns.


Townsend Board of Selectmen support submission of Project Need Form

June 16, 2009 : The Townsend Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to support a joint submission with Groton of a Project Need Form for the Squannacook River Rail Trail. This Project Need Form is submitted to MassHighway, and indicates official interest in a project. Submission of this form will allow MassHighway and the Montachusetts Regional Planning Commission to analyze this project in greater detail, but does not commit the town to building the trail. This analysis will aid our committee in further investigating potential funding sources for the construction of this trail.


Members of Townsend rail trail funding committee chosen

Nov. 10, 2008 : The Townsend Board of Selectmen have appointed the following members to the Squannacook River Rail Trail Funding Exploration Committee:

At their first meeting on Nov. 10, 2008, Hirk Fortin was elected chairman, and Bill Rideout was elected secretary. The next meeting will be Nov. 20, 2008 at 7 pm in Memorial Hall in Townsend, and will be a joint meeting with the Groton rail trail committee.


Congresswoman Tsongas walks the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail

Oct. 24 , 2008 : Congresswoman Tsongas tours the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail with Steve Meehan and Bill Rideout from Townsend, Peter Cunningham from Groton, Nashua River Watershed Association representatives Al Futterman, Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell and Marion Stoddard, and her regional coordinator Jane Adams. See more pictures here.

Congresswoman Tsongas tours the proposed rail trail

Steve Meehan, Congresswoman Tsongas, and Peter Cunningham discuss the rail trail.


Townsend Board of Selectmen forming ad-hoc committee to study rail trail funding issues

Sep 23, 2008: The Townsend Board of Selectmen voted to form an ad-hoc committee to study funding issues involving the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail. The Groton Board of Selectmen have also refocused Groton's rail trail committee to study financing issues. Of central interest to both committees will be whether 100% funding is possible though federal and state funding. The Townsend committee will have five members, and the Townsend Board of Selectmen decided to wait ten days before selecting committee members. Cartoon

MBTA replaces culvert behind Harbor Village; restricts access to rail bed

Aug 20, 2008: The MBTA replaced a failing culvert behind Harbor Village in Townsend. Flooding due to this culvert problem had affected a number of residents in the area. As part of the project, the MBTA put up the pictured No Trespassing sign and blocked through access on the rail bed. This reinforces the point that the only way to ensure public access to this corridor is to convert it to a rail trail.

No trespassing sign behind Harbor Village

FST releases final assessment report on the Squannacook River Rail Trail

Aug. 13, 2008: FST released the final version of its environmental and engineering assessment (20 MB PDF). Since 2002 the SRRT Committee has remained committed to an exploration of the feasibility of a rails-to-trails conversion in Townsend.  We completed our own study in 2006 and came to an initial conclusion that this was a viable project.  The results of this professional study, performed by recreational trail experts Fay, Spofford and Thorndike (FST) confirm the conclusion that this project is feasible.


Over 150 people attend FST public meeting

June 12, 2008: Over 150 people attended the FST public meeting on June 12, 2008 at North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend. A video of FST's presentation is available here. FST meeting

FST releases draft assessment of Squannacook River Rail Trail in preparation for June 12th meeting

June 5, 2008: In preparation for the public meeting to be held Thursday June 12, 2008 at 7 pm at the NMRHS, the engineering firm Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (FST) released a draft environmental and engineering assessment (13 MB PDF). They also made available a detailed series of maps in a separate appendix (4 MB PDF). Document not yet included in draft report are the Townsend Conservation Commission comments and Townsend Historical Society comments.

Everyone from Townsend and Groton interested in learning about this project is invited to attend. There will be a question and comment period following FST's presentation.


MBTA to rebuild culvert causing flooding near Groton/Townsend line

May 13, 2008: The MBTA will soon begin a project to rebuild a failing culvert located behind the Harbor Village Shopping Center. This culvert has caused flooding in the past few years in the area of the Groton/Townsend line. The rail bed is still passable, with red plastic fencing marking the future work area. The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee helped to facilitate a meeting between Townsend and MBTA officials to kick this project off. Culvert near Harbor Village

Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee wins $1000 NEGEF grant

April 24, 2008 : The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee has been awarded a grant of $1,000 from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund (NEGEF). The funds from this grant will be used to pay for an informational mailing to Townsend households about the upcoming public meeting to be held by Fay Spofford & Thorndike (FST). NEGEF logo

FST is the firm preparing a preliminary environmental and engineering study on the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail. This study is addressing many issues relevant to this rail trail, including potential environmental and business impact, parking and road crossings, safety, and abutter concerns. These public meetings will be held in both Townsend and Groton in the late spring or early summer. At these meetings FST will be presenting their findings to date, gathering public feedback, and discussing possible next steps. The grant from NEGEF will ensure greater public participation in this process.

This grant is the second the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee has received in as many years. It follows last year’s award of $20,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to help pay for the preliminary environmental and engineering study. Additionally, the Nashua River Watershed Association has received support from the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation to enable its work on this project.


Preliminary environmental and engineering study by Fay Spofford & Thorndike well underway

Mar. 8, 2008 : The engineering firm of Fay Spofford & Thorndike (FST) is moving forward with the preliminary environmental and engineering study of the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail in Townsend and Groton. John Hendrickson is the project manager and Jen Shemowat is the project engineer, and a number of coordination meetings have already been held. FST has begun contacting various parties whose input is needed for this study. Public meetings on the study in Groton and Townsend are expected in late spring or early summer.

FST examines a culvert along the proposed rail trail

John Hendrickson from FST examines a culvert along the proposed rail trail


Townsend and Groton both choose Fay Spofford & Thorndike for the upcoming preliminary environmental and engineering study

Nov. 29, 2007: The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee and the Town of Groton both selected Fay, Spofford & Thorndike to undertake a preliminary environmental and engineering study of the Squannacook River Rail Trail.

The Town of Groton and the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee recently sent out separate but coordinated requests for proposals for each town's portion of the study. After carefully reviewing the various proposals, both groups selected the engineering firm of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike.  They are one of the leaders in this field, and designed both the Nashua River Rail Trail and the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail in Nashua.  They have also recently completed similar rail trail studies in the towns of Acton, Concord, Sudbury, Wakefield, Lynnfield, and Georgetown.

FST logo

An important part of the study will be public meetings led by Fay, Spofford & Thorndike to discuss their findings.  These meetings will be held in 2008 in both Townsend and Groton, and everyone interested in this proposed rail trail is encouraged to attend. 


Groton establishes official committee to study the potential Squannacook River Rail Trail

Nov. 13, 2007: The Groton Board of Selectmen established an official town committee to plan and implement the establishment of the Groton section of the Squannacook River Rail Trail. More information is available at their website. Groton logo

Groton town meeting unanimously approves funding for preliminary environmental and engineering study

Oct. 29, 2007: Groton voters at the fall special town meeting unanimously approved an expenditure of $10,000 for a preliminary environmental and engineering study of the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail in Groton. These funds were appropriated from the Community Preservation Fiscal Year 2008 budget reserve. Funding for this study has now been secured for both the Townsend and Groton sections of this proposed rail trail.

This professional environmental and engineering study will address many issues, including potential environmental impact, parking and road crossings, and abutter concerns. Images of a number of these issues can be seen on our photo gallery page.

An important part of these studies will be public meetings led by the engineering firms to discuss their findings.  These meetings will be held in 2008 in both Groton and Townsend, and everyone interested in this proposed rail trail is encouraged to attend. Stay tuned to this site for the dates!

Trail in Groton

The rail bed in Groton.


Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee wins $20,000 grant from DCR to pay for preliminary engineering study in Townsend.

Oct 18, 2007: The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee is proud to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $20,000 from the Recreational Trails Grants Program of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The funds from the DCR grant will be used to pay for Townsend's portion of the project’s next step: a preliminary environmental and engineering study by a professional engineering firm.  DCR logo

This professional environmental and engineering study will address many issues, including potential environmental impact, parking and road crossings, safety, business impact, and abutter concerns. Images of a number of these issues can be seen on our photo gallery page.

The Town of Groton is planning a similar preliminary environmental and engineering study for the proposed 0.9 miles of the Squannacook River Rail Trail in Groton.  Funding for the Groton portion of this study will be on the agenda at the Groton Special Town Meeting on Oct. 22, 2007.

An important part of the process will be public meetings led by the engineering firms to discuss their findings.  These meetings will be held in 2008 in both Townsend and Groton, and everyone interested in this proposed rail trail is encouraged to attend. Stay tuned to this site for the dates!

The Townsend and Groton versions of the Request for Proposals for this study were sent out in September 2007, and are available on our Documents page. An electronic version of the engineering report will be available here also when it is complete.


Members of the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee attend Moving Together conference in Boston

Oct. 17, 2007: Three members of the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee, Steve Meehan, Bill Rideout, and Al Futterman, attended the Moving Together conference on Oct. 17, 2007 in Boston.  This yearly conference brings together people from across the Commonwealth working to improve bicycling and walking conditions locally, regionally, and statewide. The meeting was an excellent chance for our group to speak with many key people involved with rail trails in Massachusetts, including representatives from MassHighway and the Department of Recreation and Conservation, and follow rail trail advocates.

Secretary of Transportation Cohen

Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee chairman Steve Meehan discusses the project with Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen.


SRRT Committee/Town of Groton send out Requests for Quotations for upcoming preliminary engineering study.

Sep. 6, 2007Today, the Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee and the Town of Groton concurrently released companion Requests for Quotations for the upcoming rail trail preliminary engineering study.   This preliminary environmental and engineering study of the proposed Squannacook River Rail Trail will serve two important purposes: 1) to address certain issues important to the Townsend's and Groton's decision as to whether to approve this project or not, and 2) to satisfy Mass Highway of project feasibility before the earmarked federal funds can be released.  See our photo gallery for images of the various issues along the proposed rail trail the study will cover. The documents page contains pdf versions of the Townsend and Groton Requests for Quotations.

This Request for Quotation is contingent upon funding. The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee will be covering the cost of the study in Townsend, and we are very optimistic about receiving a grant in the near future to cover the cost.  The town of Groton will be putting a request for funding before the town at the fall 2007 town meeting. Responses to both the Townsend and Groton RFQs are due on October 15, 2007


The Squannacook River Rail Trail now planned for both Townsend and Groton

July 1, 2007:  The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee has expanded its plans for the rail trail to include a 0.9 mile section in Groton.  The trail is now planned to run from Depot Street in the center of Townsend to the Bertozzi Wildlife Management Area on Townsend Road in Groton, for a total of 3.7 miles.  See the map for details.


Trail walk with Mass Highway

May 24, 2007: On Thursday, May 24th, members of the Squannacook River Rail Trail committee walked the proposed rail trail with Arthur Frost and Sarah Bradbury from MassHighway.   During our trail walk, Arthur and Sarah made the comment that our trail had the fewest engineering challenges of any they had recently walked.   The only area they saw as challenging was the South Road crossing area, but their overall assessment was that our trail was remarkably free of serious problems.  See the photo gallery for images of some of the issues to be studied during the upcoming preliminary engineering study.

Trestle in Townsend center damaged by storm and blocked off by MBTA

May 20, 2007: The recent storm caused significant flooding in Townsend, leading to erosion-related damage to the trestle bridge in the center of Townsend.  The MBTA responded to this potential liability by putting up the unattractive fence shown in this picture, with a sign that reads, WARNING - DANGER - NO TRESPASSING

Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee at Townsend's Earth Day

April 28, 2007: The Squannacook River Rail Trail Committee had a very well-attended booth at Townsend's Earth Day.  For more pictures, click here.

Investigation of environmental liability continuing

Jan. 8, 2007: The issue of environmental liability for a town signing the MBTA lease in order to build a rail trail remains under active investigation.  This has been an issue both in Townsend and state-wide in the past year.  An in-depth review can be found here.  Our committee feels that the environmental liability issue is one that needs to be taken seriously; however,  we believe it is one for which we will eventually find a satisfactory solution.


Townsend Board of Selectmen request draft lease from MBTA

Jun. 9, 2006:  The Townsend Board of Selectmen decide to request a copy of the draft rail bed lease from the MBTA.  This is a non-binding step toward signing the lease, but it does officially notify the MBTA that the town is considering a rails-to-trails conversion.


Townsend votes 1021-259 to support pursuing the rail trail

May 10, 2006: Townsend voters overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal supporting the Squannacook River Rail Trail.  A referendum asking voters if they want the town to pursue the project passed by 1,021-to-259 margin, as nearly 80 percent of voters approved the idea. This vote was non-binding, and the final vote to decide whether to commit to this project will come only after a preliminary engineering study is complete.

Earmarked funds for rail trails, including the Squannacook River Rail Trail, in latest federal highway bill

Jun. 29, 2005: - Congressman John W. Olver announced that the latest federal highway bill contained 4 million dollar for four rail trails in his district, including the Squannacook River Rail Trail.