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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Trail Riders Important Supporters of SNETT

The Bay State Trail Riders Association is an organization whose number one priority is keeping trails, like the SNETT, open for equestrian use.

By Dave Dunbar
A well-known multi-use recreational trail – “SNETT” – runs from Franklin in the east to Douglas in the west, terminating in Connecticut. The Southern New England Trunkline Trail receives support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a variety of local volunteer and non-profit organizations.  One of them is the Bay State Trail Riders Association (BSTRA).
“It’s a labor of love,” says Becky Kalagher, president of the 285-member equestrian organization established in 1973 and based in Douglas, Mass. “I seriously believe that the horseback riding community must be part of the solution and be involved especially at the local level. If you are willing to invest sweat equity, time, or money, land-owning agencies are more willing to work with you as a partner because they know you care.”
One of BSTRA’s founding members is a Bellingham resident who began organizing the association almost 50 years ago.  “Ed Whalley was instrumental in convincing the state to purchase the abandoned railroad bed to be used as a trail,” says Kalagher. “He had a vision of this trail becoming the backbone of huge trail system that we could all enjoy, not just horseback riders.” Whalley, who lived around Silver Lake, passed away a few years ago. Kalagher became president in 1990.
“Our goal,” she explains, “was to start at one end of the trail in Connecticut and work towards the other end at Franklin State Park. We are glad that residents of Franklin and Bellingham came together to advocate and work on those sections, too! The more that people are involved, the better it is for all of us that use the SNETT.”
Rose Zariczny is the organization’s Recording Secretary who joined in the early 1980’s. 
Her favorite activity is camping with the horses. “It’s usually a long weekend,” she says, “and we pack up our trailers and trucks and horses and head out to a campground.”  Her favorite spot is Miles Standish State Forest in Carver, Mass.  
 “I love horse people,” she smiles.  “And riding in areas where we might otherwise not go.”
Looking forward into 2023, BSTRA is planning a celebration of its 50th anniversary. And there’s lots of work to be done along the length of the trail itself. “Now, if we can establish a place to park some truck and trailer rigs, then local horseback riders and visitors will be able to enjoy the SNETT and ride to the Franklin State Park,” says Kalagher.
Zariczny adds that the association is always on the lookout for new, younger members.  “We need people to follow in our footsteps, so we encourage involvement.  We love horses and people… and we’d like to share the love and keep this going.”
According to its website, the Bay State Trail Riders Association is an organization whose number one priority is keeping trails open for equestrian use. It also advocates for multi-use trails that are horse-friendly such as hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, running, and snowshoeing.
Kalagher adds, “Since we started doing work on trails in 1989, we have put over $712,000 back into trails, and that is something we are very proud of. This is in the form of volunteer labor, donated machine work/materials, grants, and cash.”
BSTRA members participate in a variety of events including pleasure and competitive trail rides, workdays, raffles/opportunity drawings, fund-raisers, silent auctions, campouts, and an annual awards presentation.  
You can learn more about the Bay State Trail Riders Association at and by visiting the organization’s Facebook page. Or by calling (508) 476-3960.