Monday, September 29, 2014

Volunteer Projects Enhance the Bay Circuit Trail in Easton and Bridgewater



 On Wednesday, September 17, volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) got outdoors with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) to improve the Bay Circuit Trail. The efforts of more than 50 Blue Cross volunteers resulted in the maintenance of a Bay Circuit Trail segment in Easton, as well as a new roadside park installation and property cleanup at a historic landmark and Bay Circuit gem in Bridgewater. These projects improved public outdoor recreational access and promoted awareness of the beautiful, natural lands that the Bay Circuit Trail traverses.

The project was part of Blue Cross’ fourth annual company-wide Service Day. Close to 3,200 employees volunteered at 45 different community sites across the state to beautify recreational areas, prepare meals, assemble food and clothes items, and enhance educational facilities, among many other activities. AMC also received a $5,000 grant.

At Stanley Iron Works Park, a Town of Bridgewater public conservation property and landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, a barbed wire fence covered in poison ivy used to disguise the tranquil, scenic parkalong High Street. In preparation for the work day, the town opened up a section of old fencing, and Blue Cross volunteers erected a roadside sign and benches to welcome visitors into the site.

Volunteers with AMC also removed overgrown vegetation around the existing park entrance by the Town River and historic Iron Works building, set back off High Street. The property coaligns with a local land and river connectivity project, the Nuckatessett Greenway.

The Bay Circuit Trail & Greenway links parks and open spaces in 57 Eastern Massachusetts communities, from Plum Island and Ipswich to the Duxbury and Kingston shore. The trail spans 34 Boston-area cities and towns and provides close-to-home recreation that includes walking, biking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, and many sections are accessible by public transportation.

Ongoing volunteer support is needed, and the public is invited to join free, introductory trail stewardship events that are taking place on Saturday, October 18 in Acton, MA; and November 1 in the Bridgewaters area. To register, visit theAMC website at www.outdoors.org/volunteer

In 2012, the Appalachian Mountain Club and The Trustees of Reservations, two of Massachusetts’ largest and oldest conservation organizations, began working together with the Bay Circuit Alliance on the completion, enhancement, and long-term protection of the recreational trail and greenway.

The Bay Circuit Alliance: Since its founding in 1990, the Bay Circuit Alliance (BCA) has served to organize and direct the effort to realize the Bay Circuit Trail vision and mission. More than 230 miles of multi-use, passive recreational trail have now been dedicated, thanks to the contributions of hundreds of volunteers in 40 cooperating towns. The Alliance is a partnership of organizations and individuals, public and private, working to complete the Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway. BCA’s membership consists of six regional, four statewide, and more than 40 local member organizations, plus many interested individuals. Learn more at www.baycircuit.org.

The Appalachian Mountain Club: Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America's Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. We invite the public to support our conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. 
 
The AMC has over 32,000 members and four chapters in Massachusetts, and maintains more than 600 miles of trails in the state, including the Appalachian Trail, the New England National Scenic Trail, and the Midstate Trail.
More information is available online at www.outdoors.org.

The Nunckatessett Greenway: The Nunckatessett Greenway is a network of land & water trails where history and nature meet.  The Greenway connects the Town River and the Bay Circuit Trail to public conservation areas, educational, and urban centers in West Bridgewater and Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The collaborative trail project is governed by representatives from both towns, Bridgewater State University, the Bay Circuit Alliance and their many partners including the Wild & Scenic Taunton River Stewardship Council, National Park Service,and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

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