State rolls out interactive rail-trail map for users

By MADDIE FABIAN

Staff Writer

Published: 07-09-2023 9:57 PM

BOSTON — A new interactive Priority Trails Network vision map created by the Massachusetts Trails Team (MassTrails), an interagency government collaboration, provides a centralized account of key shared-use rail trail projects across the state, including 320 miles of in-use trails, 24 miles of trails under construction, and 60 miles of paths that are funded but not yet developed.

“Our network of trails offers an important way for our residents to get around, cut down on car use, and enjoy our beautiful outdoors,” said Rebecca Tepper, secretary of energy and environmental affairs. “The Priority Trails Map enables the Healey-Driscoll Administration to identify ways to grow our trails system and, ultimately, reduce transportation emissions.”

The map includes 37 existing trails, including the Northampton Bikeway and the Southampton Greenway Rail Trail, along with other shared-use paths that are under consideration and/or in development. One such trail is the Mass Central Rail Trail which, once completed, will run 104 miles from Northampton to Boston.

“This Priority Trails Network puts forth identified locations which the MassTrails team seeks to partner with stakeholders for in order to enhance and create an extended network,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “The map gives a good visual idea of where gaps exist and where many trails already lead to key destinations.”

The ultimate goal is to connect all trails statewide to the Priority Trails Network framework.

DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo said that trails “help us build healthier families through outdoor recreation and support tourism and economic opportunity.”

Users of the interactive map can click on any segment of the trail to view its name, municipality, and MassDOT Project Information page. Solid lines on the map represent existing shared-use paths and infrastructure, and dotted lines represent planned infrastructure.

The map can be accessed at https://www.mass.gov/guides/masstrails-priority-trails-network-vision.

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Maddie Fabian can be reached by email at mfabian@gazettenet.com or on Twitter @MaddieFabian.]]>