Develop, promote and maintain the town's trails network.
The Natural Resources Commission formed the Bike Trails and Walkways Study Committee in 1992, under the chairmanship of John G. Schuler, to plan trails for the 1990s and beyond. The committee launched studies to connect neighborhoods and schools with safe walking and bike trails, provide a rail trail from Lower Falls to Riverside, use the town's aqueducts as trails, and implement a trails network. The Trails Committee was formed in 1993 as an official committee of the NRC, and planning and feasibility studies were initiated.
Timeline of major accomplishments:
1996: A plan was developed for the Crosstown Trail to provide east-west connectivity and the construction of a demonstration trail along the Cochituate Aqueduct between Woodlawn Avenue and the Schofield School.
1997: The demonstration trail was marked in the spring, and by December, volunteers and the DPW completed the difficult task of constructing steps at Woodlawn Avenue down the steep bank to the aqueduct. Successful completion of this trail generated enthusiastic town support to implement a town-wide trails network.
1998 The Crosstown Trail was completed, linking together the Cochituate, Fuller Brook and Caroline Paths.
1999: A footbridge was constructed near the high school over the Caroline Brook, and the first trail signs were designed and installed. Loop woodland trails were marked at Longfellow Pond and Centennial Park.
2000: A color-coded trails network map was completed, and the initial set of map houses was installed to display and dispense maps.
2001: The Charles River Path, Boulder Brook Reservation Trail and the initial part of the Guernsey Path were completed.
2002: The Morses Pond and Beard Trails were completed, and we began conducting guided walks along our trails.
2003: The Carisbrooke Reservation and Rockridge Pond Trails were added as woodland trails and the Guernsey Path was extended to the Waban Arches. The Wellesley Trails website came online.
2004: The Wellesley Conservation Council's Guernsey Sanctuary Trail was added as a woodland trail.
2005: The Sudbury Path was added as a major interconnecting trail along the southern part of town, the Guernsey Path was extended to connect to the Crosstown Trail, and the Crosstown Trail was realigned to more closely follow the Cochiuate Aqueduct. Published our five-year Trails Project Plan for the Town Comprehensive Plan.
2006: The Esker Trail in the Town Forest was added to our trails networks.
2007: The Guernsey Path was rerouted through Wellesley College and the Morses Pond Trail became a loop trail which included the Town Beach.
2008: In cooperation with the Town NIS GIS analysts, the conversion of all our trail maps to GIS was completed.
2009: The Charles River Link was dedicated, a 16-mile, 6-town regional trail connecting Newton through Wellesley to the Bay Circuit Trail in Medfield. The Sudbury Path was rerouted thought the Babson campus, and the Crosstown Trail was rerouted around the duck pond at Town Hall.
2010: Since 2002 we have conducted 65 guided trail walks and Kids' Trails Day events to encourage the use and enjoyment of our trails network, and over 1,000 participants have attended these activities. Trail parking and a safe pedestrian crossing were added to the Crosstown Trail at Weston Rd.
2011: We updated our 2005 Trails Project Plan with the status of existing projects and six new proposed projects.
2012: The Charles River Path was extended in back of Waterstone along the Charles River to Weston, and the Crosstown Trail was extended from Morses Pond to the Natick town line.
2013: The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) issued a permit to the Town formalizing the agreement for non-motorized recreational use of the Sudbury Aqueduct trails.
A major factor that contributed to our success in building this trails network was the support and hard work of willing and capable volunteers. The Woodlawn Avenue steps, that initiated our trails development, were built with help from the WHS Key Club, neighbors and friends. Footbridges have been built and trails marked by Boy Scout troops, Key Club members and high school student service projects. Trail maintenance and cleanups have been done by Girl Scouts. Eagle Scouts have planned, designed and constructed steps, bridges, new trails and map houses to improve usability and trail safety. This has truly been a community team effort, and we are grateful for all the help we have received over the years.
What We Do
The Trails Committee is responsible for developing new trails and enhancing the trails network. We explore ideas for interconnecting Wellesley's open spaces, work with the NRC and DPW on new trail development, and negotiate trail access with organizations, state government agencies and adjacent towns. We evaluate trail routes, consider safety issues, address parking and access, mark new trails, decide on new map house locations, and revise the trails map to reflect additions and changes.
We are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the trails. We organize work parties, assign committee members to monitor trail segments, replace missing trail markers and posts, stuff map boxes with trail maps and guides, clear brush from trails, and work to keep the trails litter free. We coordinate DPW assistance to provide trail mowing, removal of large downed trees blocking trails, map house installations, and any other heavy-duty maintenance support.
Our goal is to provide a user-friendly trail system that encourages residents to enjoy the open spaces, parks and conservation land in Wellesley. We want to give people the opportunity to see a different perspective of Wellesley by walking our town paths and trails and exploring parts of town never seen from the roadways. We promote the trails by providing a comprehensive website, distributing trail maps, providing trail pamphlets, maintaining the map houses, running walks and jogs, sponsoring public events and cleanups, setting up and staffing booths for town activities and celebrations, and giving presentations.
We foster community involvement by identifying projects and tasks that can be done by youth organizations and volunteer groups, and we coordinate and monitor their work. We encourage residents to become members of the Friends of the Trails to participate in our events and projects.
About once a month, we hold Trails Committee meetings. During the meetings we discuss the status of ongoing projects, plan new projects, schedule work parties and activities, update our trails projects list of current and future tasks, and report on problems and discuss solutions. Meeting minutes are emailed to committee members and archived on the website.
Trails Committee members are:
Joan Gaughan, NRC representative
Miguel Lessing, Chair
Denny Nackoney, Vice Chair