Mass DEP Working to Improve 1.2-Mile Segment of SNETT
Lots of heavy equipment on the trail to clear the way for a smooth, unobstructed path for walking, running, etc.
By David Dunbar
The Southern New England Trunkline Trail – known locally as SNETT – originates in Franklin and runs for 22 miles through Bellingham, Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Douglas, and terminates just across the border in Connecticut.
It’s a favorite for walking, running, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog walking, strolling with strollers, younger kids riding their scooters or tricycles, nature watching and nature photography.
And now, the news. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is at work on improving a 1.2-mile segment of SNETT between Center Street and South Main Street in Bellingham.
Trees have been removed, boulders pushed aside, and brush cleared away to provide a wide and unobstructed walkway.
“The project is expected to be completed in 2023 and will cost approximately $1.12 million, which is funded through DCR’s capital budget,” according to a department spokesperson. “The surface of this new segment will be stabilized aggregate, which is the same material as the existing trail segments.”
Watching over SNETT is The Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee (FBRTC). It is a volunteer advocacy group dedicated to the development, maintenance, and financial support of SNETT as a multi-use, universally accessible recreational path.
The Committee’s partners include Mass DCR, Crossing Cycle and Tinetrics, Inc., both in Franklin, and Ground Trunk Trailblazers and Metacomet Land Trust.
“One of the longest trails in southern Massachusetts,” reports a FBRTC brochure, “is built on the site of the former New England & New York Railroad. When complete, this trail will connect communities in western and central Massachusetts and a network of interstate trails. Future plans include a link to downtown Franklin.”
Terri Graham lives in Mendon and walks the trail. “Each time I walked I did feel a sense of community. Lots of friendly people walking, some walking with their dogs, and always waving hello and/or giving a smile.”
Paola Echeverry is a Bellingham resident and regular user of SNETT. “The well-taken-care-of-path, the trees covering it on both sides, the sound of the little creek and the wind going through the trees’ leaves, reminds you what is really important in life. It is about relaxing the mind and finding again my inner balance and peace of mind.”
“The trail is one of the best things the Town of Bellingham has done,” says Tsune Roberts who leads a weekly walking group on Fridays on the SNETT. “The trees, the change in the color of the leaves during our four seasons with the mix of animals, birds, and the people (not just us!) What a place!”
The FBRTC hosts events throughout the year including a photo contest and a 5K Run/Walk. And there is a pop-up “StoryWalk,” which features laminated pages of a children’s book placed along the trail leading readers of all ages farther along and into the story.
For more information about SNETT, visit www.franklinbellinghamrailtrail.org and you can see more on the Committee’s Facebook page