State funds $150K in local trail projects

  • The trail head for the South Athol Conservation Area off of South Athol Road. Thanks to MassTrails grant funding, two new trail segments, totaling 1.5 miles long, will be built in the conservation area. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Two new trail segments, totaling 1.5 miles long, will be built in the South Athol Conservation Area. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The parking area and trail head for the South Athol Conservation Area off of South Athol Road. Thanks to MassTrails grant funding, two new trail segments will be built in the conservation area. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2020 4:19:26 PM
Modified: 8/19/2020 4:19:14 PM

Several local outdoor recreation areas received grants for expansions and repairs this year from MassTrails, a state program that funds projects related to trails.

The local projects include new trails in Athol, improvements to snowmobile trails in western Franklin County and amenities for paddlers on the Connecticut River.

MassTrails contributed about $150,000 to local trail systems this year. Statewide, MassTrails awarded about $4 million.

“Visitors from all around the world come to Western Massachusetts for its beautiful outdoor recreational opportunities, all of which improve our quality of life and are important parts of our communities,” said state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, whose district includes areas of Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Berkshire counties. “The MassTrails grant program provides critical funding for improving and supporting our public trails for all to enjoy.”

Athol trails

Two new trail segments in the South Athol Conservation Area will be built, creating a 1.5-mile connector between existing trail heads at White Pond Road and South Athol Road.

Funding will also support trail repairs from ATV overuse, new signs and new informational kiosks at trailheads.

The grant is worth $50,000, and requires a $12,500 match from the town.

Snowmobile trails

Two snowmobile clubs that operate in western Franklin County — the Buckland Riders Snowmobile Club and the Savoy Kanary Kats Snowmobile Club — received funding to buy grooming equipment and support trail maintenance.

The grant will allow the Buckland Riders to continue work on widening trails in Hawley to at least 6 feet across, and 10 feet when possible.

The Savoy Kanary Kats will be able to make safety repairs on several bridges.

Both clubs’ grants also allow them to buy new grooming equipment.

The Buckland Riders’ grant is worth $49,354, and requires a $14,536 match. The Savoy Kanary Kats’ grant is worth $46,851, and requires $20,300 in matching funding.

Connecticut River

Additionally, a new map and paddle guide to complement similar resources published for Vermont and New Hampshire will be funded by MassTrails.

The new resources will help paddlers navigate river trips, provide safety and etiquette guidelines, and present historical information on the region’s natural and cultural history.

The grant is awarded to the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail and the Connecticut River Conservancy. It is worth $10,000, with a matching requirement of $10,000.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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