Region – After several years of planning, the Boroughs Loop Trail (BLT) will open in fall 2019. The BLT is a 33-mile trail that links existing trail systems in Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough and Southborough.
The loop includes the Panther Trail in Marlborough, the Sudbury Reservoir Trail in Southborough, the Charm Bracelet in Westborough, and about 20 miles of trails in Northborough that are managed by the Northborough Trails Committee.
The BLT will provide area residents with an outstanding opportunity to get outside and explore the special places in their communities. Highlights include:
- The Felton Conservation Land on the Marlborough-Northborough line, which has lovely woodlands and large open grasslands that are ideal for bird watching.
- The Assabet River Rail Trail that runs from Marlborough to Hudson and provides opportunities to rent a bike or stop for a cup of coffee.
- Views of the beautiful Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, a 170-acre active farm owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
- The Charm Bracelet, which is a 60-plus mile network of trails with a 28-mile loop that connects most of the open space in Westborough.
- The great Crane Swamp, a 2,225-acre conservation area that spans all four communities and includes Cedar Hill in Northborough, a property with unusual shrub habitat that supports birds such as the blue-winged warbler and eastern towhee.
The vision to create a regional trail started in 2014 with a feasibility study commissioned by the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. A Boroughs Loop Trail Committee was formed to plan the links between trail sections and create trail signs and trail maps. The committee included representatives from each community, volunteers from local trail committees, and staff from Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), a land trust that maintains over 60 miles of trails in the region.
Funding was secured from several sources including the State DCR Recreational Trails Grant Program, Marlborough Rotary Club, and City of Marlborough DPW and Conservation Commission.
Although the BLT makes use of existing trails, some new trails have been cleared in order to create the loop. In Marlborough, for example, Eagle Scout candidates and their volunteer crews, along with students from the AMSA charter school, members of the Marlborough Rotary Club, and members of the Carpenter’s Union Local 336, have completed several miles of trail and built bridges across streams and wetlands.
Work on the trails will continue this summer in Marlborough, where there are plans to build several bridges and boardwalks, including a 300-foot boardwalk over wetlands off Boundary Street. In Southborough, a few trail improvements will be made over the next year or two, while the trails in Westborough and Northborough are complete.
Before the BLT can open this fall, trails in all four communities must be blazed with the BLT logo to help trail users stay on course.
Several groups of volunteers have already signed on to help out this summer, and the planners welcome anyone one who is interested in volunteering, whether it’s for just a few hours or to become part of the project team.
If you would like to volunteer in a particular community or get more information about this project, contact: Priscilla Ryder, [email protected] (Marlborough); Don Burn, [email protected] (Westborough); Mia McDonald, [email protected] (Northborough); Melissa Danza, [email protected] or Kathryn McKee, [email protected] (Southborough).
More information about the BLT and trail maps are available at www.svtweb.org/blt.