2017 conference sessions | review of presentations
Saturday, November 4
PRESENTATION TITLE: Enhancing the Edibility of Trail Corridors with Native Edible Plants
ABSTRACT: Edible wild plants offer opportunities for people to connect to nature via their taste buds, thereby building their enthusiasm and public support for conserving lands and creating/maintaining trails through them that offer foraging opportunities. Adding native edible plants to a landscape can boost biodiversity as well as "spice it up" (literally as well as figuratively) - we can have our acorn cake and eat it too! Learn about more than two dozen tasty species native to Massachusetts, and how your trails group, land trust, town, or conservation organization can enhance your trail corridors and other land holdings with native edible plants. Several examples where such planting has already occurred will be provided, along with info on at least two dozen edible native species suitable for planting along trails.
PRESENTATION TITLE: Sustainable Tourism: Trails and Economic Development
ABSTRACT: Learn about two efforts utilizing trail development as part of a sustainable tourism industry in Massachusetts and Kansas. David Toland, CEO of Thrive Allen County, will discuss some of his work to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas through trail development. During his time at Thrive, Allen County’s county health ranking has improved; a new critical access hospital has been built; a new federally-qualified health center (FQHC) has opened; 20 new miles of free walking trails have been constructed; new manufacturing jobs and retail businesses have been recruited to the county; and a new sense of optimism and countywide unity has taken hold among residents and businesses. Craig Della Penna of Northeast Greenway Solutions will present his work promoting the tourism industry through a network of former railroad corridors. This workshop will show the abandoned network, where the re-development is taking place, the potential for the development of safe, family-oriented, off-road routes for day trips and longer, multi-day journeys. The attendees will also learn the pros and cons of developing either a fixed base or an inn-to-inn tour for bicycle tourism, and the stories of three places and the economic development that happened there because of tourism.
PRESENTER(S): Craig Della Penna, Northeast Greenway Solutions; David Tolland, Thrive Allen County, Kansas
ABSTRACT: The Appalachian Mountain Club has been building trails for over a century throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Come to this exciting workshop featuring design, construction and permitting for trail wetland crossings.
PRESENTER(S): Kristen Sykes, Appalachian Mountain Club; Andrea Franklin, Appalachian Mountain Club; Liz Armstrong, Bay Circuit Trails Committee
PRESENTATION TITLE: Planning Trails in Challenging Community Contexts
ABSTRACT: This panel will discuss the alignment, environmental and community challenges related to the planning for the Upper Charles Trail in Ashland MA. In a town without an abandoned rail corridor, Alta needed to develop creative ways to find solutions for a seven-mile trail route through undeveloped areas, along roadways, around a cemetery and through the high school campus. The panel will also discuss the community engagement process and coalition building necessary to maintain the vision of the 25-mile loop through five communities in the western suburbs of Boston. The presentation will also feature a summary of the completed, on-going and future segments in nearby communities to better understand the overall context.
PRESENTER(S): Phil Goff, Senior Project Manager, Alta Planning + Design (Cambridge office); Sheila Page, Town Planner, Ashland Department of Planning; David Loutzenheiser, Senior Transportation Planner, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC); Joel Arbeitman, Chair, Ashland Upper Charles Trail Committee
PRESENTATION TITLE: All Hands On Deck: Developing Partnerships and Working with Volunteers
ABSTRACT: Learn how the New England National Scenic Trail created a successful Trail Adopter volunteer program, and other ways NET programming engages everyone from veterans to youth through art, recreation, education, and volunteerism. The New England National Scenic Trail passes through 18 towns in Massachusetts, and each one utilizes the trail in unique and varied ways to help educate, enrich, and enliven their communities. The Westborough Charm Bracelet Trail has developed great partnerships for easements, design, construction and promotion allowing it to grow from an initial 25 miles of trails to almost 60 miles over a period of 15 years.
PRESENTER(S): Don Burn, Westborough Community Land Trust and Bridgette Likely, AMC
PRESENTATION TITLE: Keeping Our 2,000 Mile Statewide Snowmobile Trail System (SSTS) Intact and Operational
ABSTRACT: Mention "˜New Trail Construction" and many folks get excited about creating new trails where no trails currently exist. On the other hand, maintaining a large 2,000+ mile snowmobile trail system on private and public lands with an all-volunteer workforce is not so easy or glamorous. Ongoing trail maintenance is a critical part of the Statewide Snowmobile Trail System (SSTS) and involves not only physical trail maintenance; but also involves endless hours of private landowner liaison to keep the SSTS intact and operational. This is only possible by the effective use of "Force Multipliers" and collaboration with other nontraditional parties such as Private Landowners and Land Trusts. In this presentation SAM will share the secrets to making this happen.
PRESENTER(S): Randy Toth and Larry Tucker, Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts
PRESENTATION TITLE: Finding Your Way through Storytelling: The Thoreau Trail and Chinatown Trail
ABSTRACT: Two National Park Service case studies: Thoreau's Walk to Wachusett (in partnership with Freedom's Way National Heritage Area), and Boston's Chinatown Heritage Trail (in partnership with the Chinese Historical Society of New England), will highlight how different modes of storytelling—oral histories, essays, poetry and song—energize and build momentum for new community-based trails that reveal and celebrate the deep stories embedded in the landscape.
PRESENTER(S): Charlie Tracy, National Park Service
PRESENTATION TITLE: A Tale of Two City Trails: The Springfield Urban Bird Trail and Worcester's East-West Trail
ABSTRACT: Springfield Urban Bird Trail: Learn about the establishment of an 'urban bird trail' that will link neighborhoods across the city via a 'virtual' online trail, and include four interpretive habitat demonstration sites located in public greenspaces and parks in Springfield. Worcester's East-West Trail: Learn about the phases from concept through it's current and growing status as an active lifestyle option in a close knit yet highly diverse community. The trail has provided summer jobs, subject for college projects, opportunity for real life experience, exercise and a vehicle for learning local history. The journey has been a rewarding one for individuals, schools and green space organizations alike.
PRESENTER(S): David Bloniarz, U.S. Forest Service and Bob Locke, Park Spirit of Worcester
PRESENTATION TITLE: Rail Trail Development and NIMBYs - Finding a Better Way
ABSTRACT: Despite the overwhelming popularity of rail trails reflected in safety records and property values, NIMBYs pop up at most every trail development disputing this. Join town planners from Swampscott and Dedham (and one more TBD) to hear their stories about their active rail trail projects, working with NIMBY's, town meeting votes, and in general moving the project forward.
PRESENTER(S): David Loutzenheiser, Metropolitan Area Planning Council; Joe Geller, Topsfield Rail Trail Committee; Pete Kane, Director of Community Development, Swampscott
PRESENTATION TITLE: Design and Build Trails to Maximize Drainage and Minimize Erosion
ABSTRACT: This session will look at real life examples of trail problems and their solutions: 1)Trails on steep and eroding slopes, 2) Getting water off trails, and 3) Using unique tools for low impact solutions (Griphoist systems). The SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps members and staff will walk you through their real life solutions to trail problems from the 2017 season.
PRESENTER(S): Tim Craig – Program Director – SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps & SCA members from 2017
PRESENTATION TITLE: Building a Sustainable Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trail System in Massachusetts
ABSTRACT: Building a sustainable OHV Trail System in Massachusetts is a complicated puzzle, and the State Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee is working to solve this puzzle. In November 2016, the Advisory Committee hosted a workshop that convened various stakeholders from the OHV riding communities, environmental groups, private landowners, safety advocates, local and environmental law enforcement, state agencies, and expertise from New Hampshire and Maine to develop a blueprint for cooperative and sustainable OHV riding opportunities in Massachusetts. This session will present the Advisory Committee's multi-strategy approach to building OHV trail system which includes safety education, law enforcement, private landowners relations and liability protection, the creation of the State OHV Coordinator position, grantmaking and organizational development assistance to OHV clubs, trail building and maintenance training. Participants would have the opportunity to meet some of the Advisory Committee members and provide feedback for their efforts.
PRESENTER(S): Scott Morrill, EOEEA OHV Program Coordinator; James Sherman, New England Trail Riders Association; Robert Gubala, State Line Riders ATV Club
PRESENTATION TITLE: Reassurance, Rules and Wayfinding: Trail Marking and Signage 101
ABSTRACT: Attractive, appropriate and clear trail marking and signage is one of the most important and cost effective tools that trail managers can use to provide a positive and safe user experience. This session will provide an overview of types of trail marking and signage and different approaches, styles and materials that can be used. The session will particularly highlight DCR’s current standards for reassurance marking and intersection signage as well as recent initiatives by other conservation organizations.
PRESENTER(S): Paul Jahnige, Director DCR Greenways and Trails Program; Brian Westrick, The Trustees
ABSTRACT: Learn about two creative projects that used video, music, and the arts to inspire support for trails. Hiking the Bay Circuit Trail - a Video Journal: Come see the multi-media production about Dan Brielmann's hike of the Bay Circuit Trail including video clips and original songs. 22-video segments capture episodes of interviews with over 60 environmental heroes involved with the trail. MA "Easy Walking" Tour: Learn about the tools used to raise trail awareness, increase participation, increasing numbers of walking partners as well as concert attendees, on this year's tour between the founders of the Massachusetts Walking Tour, and Marjorie Turner Hollman, author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, a trail guide series in central MA.
PRESENTER(S): Daniel and Marylin Brielmann & Marjorie Turner Hollman
PRESENTATION TITLE: Blue Trails: The Water is the Path!
ABSTRACT: Learn about the planning, design and implementation of four blue trails across Massachusetts - the Connecticut Paddlers Trail, Sudbury-Assabet-Concord Rivers Blue Trail, the Millers River Blue Trail and the Quaboag River Blue Trail. The session will include the steps to develop river campsite and access points including the stakeholders, opportunities, challenges and lessons learned. The CT River Paddlers' Trail is a long distance water trail with two primitive campsites on the Connecticut River. The Sudbury-Assabet-Concord Rivers Blue Trail offers linkages with "green" land-based trails and conservation land through maps, put-ins, docks, viewing platforms, interpretive signs and other means to bring more people to and on the rivers. The Millers and Quaboag River Blue Trails seek to better connect people to these rivers using trail guides which present both natural and human history and by offering improved river access and water quality awareness through an on-going regional monitoring program targeting recreational users. Together, the goal is to enjoy a day on the river and foster a stronger river stewardship ethic.
PRESENTER(S): Kristen Sykes, Appalachian Mountain Club; Suzanne Flint, OARS; Keith Davies, Chicopee and Millers Rivers Watershed Councils
PRESENTATION TITLE: Permitting Trail Wetland and Stream Crossings
ABSTRACT: Learn how to successfully permit stream and wetland crossings under the Wetlands Protection Act. This session will provide an overview of the environmental conditions that trigger filing for a permit, the standards that must be met, and some examples of successfully permitted crossings from around the Commonwealth.
PRESENTATION TITLE: Rehabilitating a Historic CCC-built Backcountry Shelter
ABSTRACT: Come listen to our story about the process of rehabilitating a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built backcountry shelter dating from 1939. You’ll learn about the early history of Beartown State Forest including the CCC and their contribution to early outdoor recreation development, in particular New England skiing. We’ll also cover our project timeline including a description of planning, process, and actually carrying out the rehabilitation and what our hopes are for this and other similar trailside structures in the future.
PRESENTER(S): Adam Morris, DCR Forest & Park Regional Coordinator; Tim Craig, SCA MA Director
Rehabilitating a Historic CCC-built Backcountry Shelter
ABSTRACT: Making accurate and useful trail maps is important. Learn about two different methods for making customizable trail maps, including how to download GPS data using GPS visualizer and create maps in Powerpoint and other easy to use programs, and OpenStreetMap for mapping and measuring trails.
PRESENTER(S): Steve Greason, West Newbury Open Space Committee and Olin Lathrop, Groton Trails Committee
PRESENTATION TITLE: Restoring an Urban River: The Acushnet River Trail and Sawmill Ecological Restoration Project
ABSTRACT: The Acushnet River in southeastern Massachusetts is being transformed through ecological restoration and installation of trail networks that bring people back to the banks of an industrial river and harbor. The Buzzards Bay Coalition has recently transformed the Acushnet Sawmill from a 19-acre vacant industrial site on the Acushnet River into a nature preserve. Ten years later, the site is open to the public after removing a dam and replacing acres of pavement with natural river banks, wetlands, fields, a canoe launch, visitor center, overlooks and trails. The Coalition has established a very successful Adopt-a-Reserve volunteer program for this popular new park. The project has reconnected wildlife and the citizens of New Bedford's urban north end with the river and serves as the northern anchor of the Acushnet River Trail (ART). The ART is a regional planning effort to create a multi-modal trail through the adjoining towns to link pocket parks and environmental justice communities along the river.
PRESENTER(S): Sara Quintal, Buzzards Bay Coalition
PRESENTATION TITLE: Trails, Wildlife and Land Stewardship
ABSTRACT: A panel discussion on the ecological implication of trails and trail use with representatives from various land managers across the state whose prime objectives range from providing trail-based recreational activities such as hiking, dog walking, mountain biking, and horse-back riding, to protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat, providing access for wildlife-related recreation, and safeguarding public water supplies. The discussion will focus on how to provide sustainable trails to meet the growing public demand while protecting resources that may be impacted by trail development or are not reliant on trails for use.
PRESENTER(S): Liz Newlands, Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife; Mass Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; Mass Division of Water Supply Protection; Mass Audubon
PRESENTATION TITLE: Mass Central Rail Trail Update
ABSTRACT: This workshop will provide an update on the efforts across the state to design, connect, promote and rehabilitate the 104-mile Mass Central Rail Trail. The workshop will particularly highlight collaborative efforts to plan and design the section of the MCRT between Berlin and Waltham, MA, focusing on projects which have been completed or are in the final planning stages.
PRESENTER(S): Larry Kiernan, Town of Wayland; Paul Penfield Jr., Weston Rail Trail Advisory Committee; Laurel Carpenter, Waltham Land Trust; Moderator - Paul Jahnige, Director DCR Greenways and Trails Program
PRESENTATION TITLE: Building an Accessible Trail: Groton's John Tinker Trail
ABSTRACT: Learn about the creation of the John Tinker Trail in Groton, a new 1/4 mile wheelchair-accessible pathway thru nature. The nitty-gritty details will be described, including concept, planning, many approvals, archeological issues, funding, organizing volunteer labor, dealing with contractors, and various unexpected hurdles along the way. Learn from our experience and find out what you're really signing up for if you want to do something similar.
PRESENTER(S): Olin Lathrop and Paul Funch, Town of Groton Trails Committee
PRESENTATION TITLE: Designing and Building Bike and Pedestrian Projects with MassDOT
ABSTRACT: The Massachusetts Department of Transportation partners with municipalities and project proponents to fund, design, construct, and maintain on and off road paths/trails that enable the Commonwealth, its people and economy to flourish. Currently MassDOT has several active initiatives to advance trails/paths across the Commonwealth, including the Statewide Bike Plan and development of a Multi-use Path Planning and Design Guide. Panelists will discuss how a trail project advances (such as the Salisbury Point Ghost Trail), the guide, and the bicycle planning process with a particular focus on networks and critical on and off street gaps. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask question and share ideas to inform DOTs work.
PRESENTER(S): Peter Sutton, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator, MassDOT; Eamon Kernan, MassDOT; Samantha Roddy, MassDOT
PRESENTATION TITLE: How to Build a Successful Trail Committee
ABSTRACT: Come hear the tips, tricks, and lessons learned from a trail committee that has successfully planned, designed and built community-wide trail networks. Learn from Reading Trails Committee nine years of experience on how they created an Adopt-A-Trail stewardship program, partnered with town departments and committees, Scouts, and local non-profits, built an accessible boardwalk, and other accomplishments to create a trail network cherished by the community – with a budget of $1,000 a year. Learn how the Sturbridge Trail Committee went from a three member, one trail committee to a ten member, six property, twenty-seven trails town over the past ten years. Their efforts include developing a town wide trail master plan with four open space partners, a local "friends" group, creation of a newly published trail guide, and regular monthly volunteer trail stewardship.
PRESENTER(S): Thomas Gardiner, Town of Reading; Brandon Goodwin, Sturbridge Trail Committee
The 2019 MassTrails Conference is funded through the Recreational Trails Program, a grant program supporting trail and trail-related facility construction and enhancement projects across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.