Trail advocates raise hopes for connected 80-mile ride.
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The Grand Trunk Grand Trunk can refer to:
The nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. , a group of 50 to 60 trail advocates, has a goal of establishing a continuous 60- to 80-mile, 15-town trail from Palmer to Franklin. Stretches of the trail exist in various conditions, while other portions are just proposals.
Much of the route is under the control of federal, state and local governments and some is privately owned.
Many stretches are already used by hikers, equestrians and bicyclists, according to the group. Some sections have missing bridges.
The segments already usable with fat-tire bikes are:
A three-mile East Brimfield section; the quarter-mile Sturbridge Trolley Trail; the 1.25-mile Quinebaug River Lands Trail; the 3.5-mile Grand Trunk Trail-Westville section; a six-mile stretch of the Airline Trail in Thompson; the 26-mile Southern New England Trunkline Trail The Southern New England Trunkline Trail is an abandoned railroad bed running for approximately twenty-two miles having its eastern terminus in the Franklin State Forest, Franklin, Massachusetts and the western terminus in the Douglas State Forest, Douglas, Massachusetts. from the Connecticut border to Franklin.
"There are areas that don't have active trail groups. We want to start advocating for those areas," said Patrick McGarrah of Sturbridge, a member of the trailblazers group, which met recently in Thompson.
The group said the proposed 80-mile trail isn't likely to garner financial support from the state anytime soon.
The state recently published its Bay State Greenway plan in which it indicated its funding priorities.
Only three miles of the Palmer-to-Franklin trail are listed as a priority. That portion, which heads into Rhode Island Rhode Island, island, United States
Rhode Island, island, 15 mi (24 km) long and 5 mi (8 km) wide, S R.I., at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It is the largest island in the state, with steep cliffs and excellent beaches. , overlaps part of the Blackstone River Bikeway The Blackstone River Bikeway is a planned 48-mile paved trail defining the course of the East Coast Greenway through the Blackstone Valley from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island. . Most of the other 77 miles is on a secondary greenway funding list.
"We are way down on the list," Mr. McGarrah said, adding that the group pushed hard to make its case to get on the primary greenway list.
The group is also seeking an official name for the trail, and is leaning toward the Titanic Rail Trail, to prompt inquiry into the connection between the trail and the famous ship, Mr. McGarrah said.
Charles M. Hays was president of the Grand Trunk Railways, which in the early part of the last century aimed to develop a port in Providence and connect it to the Grand Trunk's Central Vermont Railway The Central Vermont Railway (AAR reporting marks CV) was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec. in Palmer, spanning about 53 miles.
In 1912, while returning home to Ottawa from a meeting in London with the Grand Trunk's financial backers, Mr. Hays booked passage on the Titanic. He was among those who died when the ship sank.
When construction was halted for good, much work was complete, but it never became a railroad.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Pickren of the Southbridge Trails Committee said at the meeting
the group should put together a list of things that need to be done and baseline cost projections; otherwise, it's a pie-in-the-sky initiative.
Mr. McGarrah said in an interview the reasons are numerous for the general public to advocate for trails, including reports that the country last year sold more new bicycles than cars, and the development of trails, at an average $30,000 per mile, is a fraction of the cost for a golf course, at about $500,000 per hole.
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CUTLINE: Grand Trunk Trail