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saturday, November 2 | 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
EMPOWERING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN TRAILS USE: A PANEL DISCUSSION DESCRIPTION: The greater outdoors can be the ultimate equalizer. Join our panel participants for a lively discussion on how to create more opportunities to engage diverse community members in the outdoors, and within the greater trails community. PANELISTS: CHARLES THOMAS, JR. - Outward Bound Adventures; KAREN FOSTER - All Out Adventures; LUCY GERTZ - Mass Audubon; BILL SPACCIAPOLI - Just Understand My Potential; OLIVER REITZ - The Venture Out Project; MODERATOR: KRISTEN SYKES - Appalachian Mountain Club
TRAIL MAPS: PRINT, ONLINE AND MOBILE APPLICATIONS DESCRIPTION: BNRC, Berkshire County's Land Trust, owns and manages 54 properties comprising over 12,000 acres, and over 55 miles of trails, and has published over a dozen trail maps for its most popular properties. In recent years, they launched The High Road initiative to connect trails to towns throughout the Berkshires. In 2019, they released the Berkshire Trails Mobile App after several years of development. See what they’ve done and hear about key lessons learned.
Since 2011, MAPC has been building and managing a GIS database of trails of all types within the region, and to a lesser extent statewide. Hear about Trailmap 3.0, the public facing web map that shows the location of all foot trails, bicycle lanes, shared use paths, and much more. See the new Trailmap platform and hear how you can contribute to its development going forward. PRESENTERS: JENNY HANSELL - Berkshire Natural Resources Council; DAVID LOUTZENHEISER - Metropolitan Area Planning Council
SHOW ME THE MONEY! CASE STUDIES ON HOW AND WHERE MASSTRAILS GRANT FUNDS GET SPENT DESCRIPTION: Four past recipients of MassTrails grants will highlight projects which have been funded through the MassTrails/Recreational Trails Program. A diverse set of projects, including the Topsfield Linear Common, the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trusts' Alderbrook Meadows Sanctuary and Eagle Reserve Trails, OARS Assabet River Blue and Green Trail and Accessible Dock, and the Lunenburg Snowmobile Club's Equipment grants will be discussed. Learn about their experience working with the grant program and the challenges and accomplishments encountered to complete these valuable trails projects! PRESENTERS: JOE GELLER - Topsfield Rail Trail Committee, East Coast Greenway Alliance, MARTAB; ALISON FIELD-JUMA - OARS, Inc.; FLETCHER HARRINGTON and KIMLYNN NGUYEN - Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust; MEL and PAULA BERTRAM - Lunenburg Snowmobile Club
ACCESS FOR ALL: STATE AND FEDERAL ACCESSIBLE TRAIL GUIDELINES, A DISCUSSION DESCRIPTION: Understanding all of what is an "Accessible trail" from the terms and definitions under federal guidelines, exemptions, application to new or existing trails, allowed mobility device access, and construction standards to meet or not, can be quite confusing. This presentation will set out the basic history, definitions, current standards of accessibility, and provide several handouts to take home. PRESENTER: TOM CHAMBERLAND - Town of Sturbridge Trail Committee, Grand Trunk Trail Committee
MAKE YOUR OWN STORYBOOK WALKS DESCRIPTION: "Make Your Own Storybook" walks are a simple concept with multiple applications. While simple, the program is not simplistic. Groups of various ages, and/or abilities are offered a group experience, outdoors if possible, but adaptable to indoor environments if needed, to explore the senses: touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell. Including all these senses in the outing enriches story possibilities, engages participants, and promises richer stories as a result. After a group "explore,' partners return to a space where they can process together their experiences, and create a written story, with pictures. Parents can aid pre-literate children (who often dictate their stories to parents), sighted partners can assist those with visually impairments, other partners can work together to produce a simple several page "book" that recounts their experiences, whether real or imagined. Older adults and those with various disabilities can be accommodated with this model. Photos of actual events conducted in various seasons and locations, with those of various abilities, will be shared during the presentation. PRESENTERS: MARJORIE TURNER HOLLMAN - Author; KATHRYN PARENT - Department of Conservation and Recreation
saturday, November 2 | 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM
WHO KNEW THIS WAS IN MY BACKYARD? BUILDING PROGRAMS TO EXPAND ENGAGEMENT OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES ALONG THE NEW ENGLAND TRAIL DESCRIPTION: Nearly 2 million people live within ten miles of the New England National Scenic Trail as it runs 215 miles from the Long Island Sound to the MA/NH border. It travels through the urban communities of Hartford CT, Holyoke MA and Springfield MA, as well as many small rural communities along the way. Join AMC staff members as we share our experiences launching two unique programs along the NET in 2018/19 aimed at expanding user groups and engaging local communities. 2019 marks the second year of a partnership between AMC, the City of Holyoke and the organization MassHire to employ local youth on a paid NET trail crew. This partnership and the teen crew is a driving edge of our effort to engage multicultural communities along the trail. In 2018 and 2019 AMC, along with partners at Connecticut Forest and Park Association and the National Park Service, launched a hiking challenge in which participants could meet the challenge requirements by hiking, volunteering, attending events, and more! The goal of the Hike50 challenge is to encourage a variety of participants to interact with the NET in a way that fits their interests and lifestyle. PRESENTERS: GABRIEL CHEVALIER, BRIDGET LIKELY, AARON NORTH, and JULIA GRAHAM - Appalachian Mountain Club
WHO'S ON THE TRAILS? THE CONNECTICUT TRAIL CENSUS PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Connecticut Trail Census is an innovative statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program that encourages data informed decision-making and promotes active citizen participation in multi-use trail monitoring and advocacy. The Trail Census includes trail use counts recorded by infrared pedestrian counters, trail user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers, and public education programs. The project is statewide and serves community leaders and decision makers including local elected officials, planners, economic development professionals, trail advocates, trail maintenance professionals, environmental, health and outdoor activity advocates, as well as the general public. PRESENTERS: CHARLIE TRACY - CT Trail Census, Former National Park Service; LAURA BROWN - University of Connecticut Extension; RYAN FAULKNER - CT Trail Census
GROWING GREENER AND GREATER: DCR’s EXPANDING GREENWAY NETWORK DESCRIPTION: From the Cape Cod Rail Trail to the Blackstone River Greenway to linking along and across urban rivers, come hear about some of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) recent greenway accomplishments, and efforts on the horizon. Whether bridging gaps, connecting communities, protecting historic resources, or opening access to natural landscapes, DCR is realizing important milestones in achieving our vision of an interconnected state-wide, shared use greenway network. PRESENTER: DAN DRISCOLL - Department of Conservation and Recreation
NAVIGATING WETLAND REGULATIONS AND WORKING WITH CONSERVATION COMMISSIONS DESCRIPTION: An experienced trails steward and conservation commission member will aim to demystify the wetland permitting process in Massachusetts by providing a baseline description of the wetland process from NOI to getting a permit. Then, a panel of conservation commissioners from various regions and municipalities will participate in a question and answer period. Participants should walk away with a better understanding of wetland regulations and, more importantly, knowledge and a "starting place" for determining if your project requires a permit and/or permitting your trails project! PRESENTER: OLIN LATHROP - Town of Groton Trails Committee and Conservation Commission; CONSERVATION COMMISSION REPRESENTATIVES:ROB MCARTHUR - City of Framingham; JENNIFER HUGHES - Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, and Ipswich Conservation Commission; KATELYN CADORET - Town of Mashpee; PRISCILLA RYDER - City of Marlborough
PUBLIC ART ON TRAILS: TWO PERSPECTIVES FROM NEWBURYPORT AND LOWELL DESCRIPTION: There is a growing movement to integrate public art into trail corridors, as carefully placed trailside art can make each public space unique and significantly enhance the trail users’ experience. Public art can help elevate a trail from ordinary green infrastructure to a particularly compelling place that is even more cherished by the community. An investment in public trail art can encourage public engagement and make a trail both a community asset and a destination for visitors. This presentation will explore the case studies of the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport and the Concord River Greenway in Lowell. Newburyport started small and eventually installed more than two dozen sculptures and mural installations along the 3-mile rail trail. Lowell’s Concord River Greenway involved a regional and national call for artists, a concept plan, fabrication, and installation. The presentation will explore detailed questions of “HOW,” including selection of art, fund-raising, placement, maintenance, and more. PRESENTERS: GEORDIE VINING - City of Newburyport; JANE CALVIN - Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust
RE-CREATING RECREATIONAL TRAILS FOR ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION DESCRIPTION: In Massachusetts, there are 351 towns and cities, with 16% of households without access to a car in the Boston Region MPO. In the theme of “ Trails as connections,” we would like to engage the audience to shift the frame around trails, from recreation to the everyday. One of the ways LivableStreets is making this vision a reality is by connecting and completing the Emerald Network, a 200+ mile network of linked greenway paths across Metro Boston. When completed, the Emerald Network will be a system of safe, non-motorized pathways that parallel routes that many people already travel for commutes, pleasure, and exercise. As the network expands connections to transit, jobs, and open space, it has the power to transform how we get around our city and the region. By utilizing transportation equity research conducted by Transportation for Massachusetts, this session will highlight how unlocking recreational trails as a safe, green transportation system for active transportation and accessible transit will benefit carless and environmental justice communities. PRESENTER: AMBAR JOHNSON - LivableStreets Alliance
TRAIL ETIQUETTE: GUIDANCE THROUGH SIGNAGE AND DESIGN DESCRIPTION: With the expansion of our pathway networks, we are seeing an influx of users of all types; walkers, bikers, joggers, strollers, dog walkers, rollerbladers, and more including new forms of mobility such as electric scooters. With many more users needing to share the constrained space, conflicts ensue due to different speeds, user types and user needs.
Trail advocates and managers are increasingly challenged to inform and enforce proper user etiquette. This presentation will explore examples from across the state of creative signage, designs and ""human"" approaches to encouraging appropriate trail etiquette. We'll focus on some of the challenges and conflicts on these trails, showcase some examples, and brainstorm audience ideas that may be put into place as best practices. PRESENTER: GALEN MOOK - Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike)
SOLUTIONS FOR COMMON TRAIL PROBLEMS: SOLVING SLICK BRIDGES PLUS TRAIL HARDENING AND SUSTAINMENT USING GEO-SYNTHETICS DESCRIPTION: A two-part discussion! First, learn about Bridge and Boardwalk Safety, including:
The safety issues that slick bridges and boardwalks pose for walkers, hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
How testing and innovation led to a unique, easily implemented, and cost effective solution.
In Part 2, discussion turns to Trail Hardening and Sustainment, including:
Trail issues that lead to usability and sustainment problems for walkers, hikers, bikers, equestrians, and land stewards.
A summary of different types of geo-synthetics to address specific trail issues.
Topics covered will include options, cost, environmental concerns, installation and more. PRESENTERS: BOB HATCH - Hubbardston Open Space Committee; BECKY KALAGHER - Bay State Trail Riders
CONNECTING NEIGHBORHOODS: LESSONS LEARNED IN DESIGNING AND BUILDING A TOWN OR REGIONAL TRAIL NETWORK DESCRIPTION: Many towns are looking to build a trail network, but how do you get started? This talk will draw from 20 years of experience in creating the Westborough Charm Bracelet and helping surrounding communities with trail systems. A number of questions and situations are common to most of these efforts, and we will address the following:
Finding approaches to building a trail network in an already developed area.
Designing for people not as comfortable on trails as the typical wilderness hiker.
How to identify the resources, possibilities and obstacles laying out a trail network.
The need to develop standards based on trail uses and trail users, including experience and other factors.
Working on the partnerships that advance the trail network.
Developing the volunteers to build and maintain the trail.
PRESENTERS: DON BURN - Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; AMBER CHRISTOFFERSEN - Mystic River Watershed Association
WHAT IS MASSTRAILS AND THE INTER-AGENCY TRAILS TEAM ANYWAY? DESCRIPTION: MassTrails is an inter-agency initiative of the Commonwealth lead by the Governor’s Office, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Transportation and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It seeks to expand and connect the Commonwealth’s networks of off-road, shared use pathways and recreational trails for all users across Massachusetts by providing matching grants, technical assistance and resources to trail professionals, volunteers and communities across the state. Come hear about this partnership and some of the exciting initiatives and work getting accomplished due to this unique and visionary collaboration. One initiative in particular, the Mass Central Rail Trail Feasibility Study will be highlighted and discussed. PRESENTERS: MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNOR'S INTER-AGENCY TRAILS TEAM
saturday, November 2 | 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
CLOSING THE GAPS: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND TRAILS DESCRIPTION: Miles of waterside and rail-trails have either been constructed or are currently being constructed by Lowell through federal, state, local, and nonprofit collaboration. This includes the 5.2-mile Canalway system, the 1.4-mile Riverwalk, the 1.5-mile Vandenberg Esplanade and extension, and the 1.7-mile Concord River Greenway. These trails connect neighborhoods, cultures, and--through partnerships--agencies.
Representatives from federal, nonprofit, and local sectors will discuss how they leverage their roles to add value to the Esplanade Extension (Pawtucket Falls Overlook), Concord River Greenway, and Connector Trail. This includes not just trail funding, but also everything from historical interpretive and multilingual signage to urban art galleries and lighting programs. PRESENTERS: CHRIS HAYES and CLAIRE RICKER - City of Lowell; CHRISTINE BRUINS and BRIDGET PEREGRINO- Lowell National Historic Park; JANE CALVIN - Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust
PROMOTING YOUR TRAIL NETWORK IN THE DIGITAL AGE DESCRIPTION: This session will present an overview mix of technology and helpful advice for how to think about organizing and telling your trails project or organization's story. Session information will be valuable to those tasked with building a website, creating its content, as well as those who endeavor to engage stakeholders through social media efforts. PRESENTERS: SCOTT LEWIS - Lewis Studios and Trail Websites; NINA PAUS-WEILER - Appalachian Mountain Club
CHAINSAW SAFETY AWARENESS OF TRAILS DESCRIPTION: Within the community of trail volunteers and work crews, it has been and remains clear that there is an abundance of space for our Chainsaw Operators and non-Chainsaw volunteers in which to learn and practice safer tree work methods on our rail trails, natural surface trails, and in the backcountry. This session will discuss the notion that volunteers must not think of themselves as “I’m JUST a volunteer” but instead should work with the mantra “Though I’m a volunteer Chainsaw Operator, it is my intention to be as professional in my tree work as I can be.” This distinction challenges old thoughts and practices which fall short, and invites a higher level of awareness and responsibility while on the job, even before stepping out of your vehicle and onto the work site. PRESENTERS: SCOTT ROYAL - Rail Trail Tree Felling Volunteer; AARON NORTH - Appalachian Mountain Club
SECRETS TO SUCCESSFULLY PROMOTING YOUR TRAIL SYSTEM TO PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS DESCRIPTION: In the pursuit of an interconnected trail system, it is necessary to successfully communicate with the general public, state legislators, public officials and special interests groups including non-traditional partners, state and municipal departments, conservation commissions, United States Congressmen as well as private landowners (farmers, neighbors, utilities, businesses). This presentation will demonstrate a number of techniques using actual real world examples which can be effectively used by your organization to make the most of those somewhat limited communication opportunities. PRESENTER: RANDY TOTH - Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts
COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL TRAIL PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS: NEW YORK'S EMPIRE STATE TRAIL, NEW BEDFORD'S BLUE LANE, AND THE NEW HAVEN TO NORTHAMPTON CANAL GREENWAY DESCRIPTION: So many great trails are being developed across the Northeast Region of our country and the MassTrails Conference always likes to take moment to highlight a few exciting examples of trails with especially interesting stories. This year, highlights will focus on New York's Empire State Trail, the City of New Bedford's Blue Lane and the New Haven to Northampton Canal Greenway. Participants will learn about the conceptualization, development and status of these trails and the recreational opportunities that they provide. PRESENTERS: CHARLES CREAGH - Alta Planning + Design; TABITHA HARKIN - City of New Bedford; ROBERT MADISON - Southwick Historical Society
The MassTrails Conference is funded through the Recreational Trails Program / MassTrails, a grant program supporting trail and trail-related facility construction and enhancement projects across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.