Over Fifteen Acres in Westminster Protected Including Section of Midstate Trail
With the pandemic forcing outdoor, safely distant socializing, it’s no wonder trails are seeing a surge in use and popularity. While most people can be satisfied with a nice hour walk in the woods there are others who crave the challenge of a long-distance hike. Luckily, north central Mass is home to many trail options for all levels. North County Land Trust (NCLT) is excited to announce that they have acquired 15.81 acres in Westminster, named North Common Road Conservation Area, that will protect three quarters of a mile of the Midstate Trail in perpetuity. NCLT thanks the Westminster Business Park for the generous donation and also thanks Marie Auger from the Midstate Trail Committee who was instrumental in advocating for the donation.
This exciting acquisition for North County Land Trust conserves acreage in Westminster and protects the continuity of the 92-mile Midstate Trail, a well-known hiking gem that extends from Rhode Island crossing the gentle hills of central Massachusetts and eventually connecting to the Wapack Trail in New Hampshire at Mt. Watatic. North County Land Trust, a regional land conservation organization serving northern Worcester County, is based in Leominster, and has a growing portfolio of conservation areas in the region open to the public. The section of the Midstate Trail protected by this acquisition runs parallel to North Common Rd from the train overpass on Oakmont Ave (locally known as Graffiti Bridge), to the edge of the property owned by the Westminster Business Park. Westminster Business Park has cleared much of the land for a housing development, but local planning officials made sure the pre-existing trail was protected from being segmented or diverted to the road. Emily Merlino, NCLT’s Land Stewardship Coordinator, also volunteers as a Midstate Trail Maintainer. She says of the land donation, “This project is a great example of how landowners, developers, municipalities, trail organizations, and conservation organizations can work together to ensure that land and trail resources are protected while meeting the housing needs of the community”. While the Midstate Trail is well established and has been in continuous use since the 1970s, much of the trail crosses through private land, and Ms. Merlino hopes to see more of the trail become permanently protected in this manner in the future.
Ms. Auger of the Midstate Trail Committee states, “We encourage people to get out there and enjoy local trails. Find trailhead locations and hiking suggestions at www.midstatetrail.org where you can also buy a guidebook or find out about trail maintenance. Volunteers to help keep the trail clear are always needed!”
Press Release: February 1, 2021