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July 31, 2020: Squannacook Greenways wins $100,000 MassTrails grant to finish trail between Depot and Old Meetinghouse

Squannacook Greenways is excited to announce that we were awarded a $100,000 grant to help finish the first part of our rail trail, from Depot St to Old Meetinghouse Road in Townsend. With this money, we will be removing the rails and ties, and putting down a 10 foot wide stone dust surface.

Map of stage 1 construction

Construction in the fall and winter of 2020 will go from Depot St. to Old Meetinghouse Road.
In memory of Steve Meehan - Sep 14, 2019

We all at Squannacook Greenways were heartbroken at the loss of our long time president and close friend Steve Meehan. Without Steve's intelligence, charm, determination and humor, this rail trail would have faded long ago, instead of rapidly approaching construction. Every time we walk or ride this rail trail for years to come, Steve will be with us in our hearts. And check out our page of pictures of Steve that also lists those who donated to our cause in his memory.

Steve Meehan signing the MBTA lease

Steve Meehan signing the MBTA lease, the culmination of 12 years of work
What is the plan for construction of this rail trail?

Squannacook Greenways has decided to take a staged approach to construction of this rail trail. This decision was driven by two factors: 1) our limited Nov - Mar window for construction equipment, 2) large increases in the cost of removing old ties and large decreases in the value of scrap steel. In the winter of 2019-2020 we cleared the entire corridor of trees. In addition, we installed a fence behind Sterilite to ensure users are not tempted to access the rail trail from their shipping area. We will then build 1/3 of the trail in each of the following three winters. In between, we will be applying for MassTrails and other grants to cover the additional costs not anticipated in our original capital campaign. Between the winter build periods, there will be volunteer days like the two very successful one we held recently to make progress with hand tools - thanks again to everyone!

The plan for the build period starting in Nov. 2020 is to build the western 1/3 of the rail trail, from Depot St to Old Meetinghouse Road in Townsend (see map). This will include the parking lot at Depot St and a wetlands reclamation area. Rails and ties will be removed, and the stonedust surface will be installed.

Tail trail construction

From Nov 2020 until Mar 2021 the stone dust trail will be built from Depot St in Townsend to Old Meetinghouse Road. Construction will include a parking lot at Depot Street and a wetlands reclamation area.
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Who is building the Squannacook River Rail Trail?

In a word, you! The Squannacook River Rail Trail is being built by a local non-profit, Squannacook Greenways, with money from grants and donations only. No town money is being used for construction or maintenance. The trail will be maintained by local volunteers.

Volunteers will maintain this rail trail.

The next Board of Directors meeting of the non-profit Squannacook Greenways will be on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm. Our meetings are being held on-line due to the pandemic.