A new statewide grant program has released its first round of awards, stretching $5 million in state and federal funds to advance dozens of trail projects across the state.
MassTrails, a relatively new collaboration between the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and MassDOT, aims to fill gaps in the state's growing network of off-street multi-use paths and trails by providing matching funds to local fundraising efforts.
In a state where trails and bike lanes often dead-end at town lines, MassTrails deserves credit for taking an inter-jurisdictional approach. At a press event announcing the grants in Lowell last month, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said, "we're going to put our agencies together to think about where those gaps are and think about how we can work with all of you to get things done."
Design work for the first two segments of the proposed Bourne Rail Trail, a waterfront rail-with-trail that would extend the Cape Cod Canal Recreation Path southward along Buzzards Bay towards Falmouth (route pictured at right). Future phases could link to Falmouth's "Shining Sea Bikeway" to create a continuous, 24-mile shared use pathway from Woods Hole to Sandwich.