By Meredith McCulloch
The Trails Committee is continuing to evaluate and improve trails throughout the town, and is creating two circuit trails that will link sidewalks, trails, and paths to form a 20.5 mile outer circle around the town and a shorter 6.3 mile inner loop closer to Town Center.
In the November 2013 Trails Committee report, Ralph Hammond writes, “This will enable Bedford’s rich geological, natural, and historical landmarks, changing habitats, and business opportunities to come alive and to be observed first hand through an easily walkable and enjoyable experience.”
The ongoing improvements include widening trails, removing fallen trees, clearing brush, adding trail markers and placing maps at the head of each trail. Stanchions marking the trailheads are already in place and will be labeled with the length of the trail and its destination. The work is being done by volunteers with assistance from the Department of Public Works. A recent inventory of each trail shows the work needed to make the trails fully useable. To complete the larger circuit, some bog bridges, if allowable under wetland rules, must be installed and small land easements sought. The entire inner trail is on town owned land and may also require some bog bridges, but no easements.
There is much for the walker to see along the way. The inner trail goes by historic and geological sites such as the 1687 Nathaniel Page House, Bedford’s 9/11 Memorial, and the wetland meadow at Springs Brook Park. The outer trail would pass the Town Forest, Wilson Dam (Bedford’s first dam,) the site of the Bedford Springs hotel, and Two Brother’s Rock. In addition, there are natural sights, such as a drumlin and glacial erratics (rocks transported and deposited by a glacier) plus a large beaver dam. Even trees fallen by the great 1938 hurricane can be spotted.
Hammond has proposed a system of labeling the trails with white and yellow dots to point the way. He has mapped the locations of trail markers and the committee will be seeking the approval of the Selectmen to place them on sidewalks that are included. The trails will start in front of the Bedford Library and will lead through parking lots of the Davis and Lane schools to provide space for parking when needed.
The Trails Committee is led by Michael Barbehenn and includes representatives from the Conservation Commission, the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Recreation Commission and the Land Stewards.
Hammond dreams of a spring rite of passage where students can celebrate with parents and teachers by walking together along the trail, possibly to their next school. The Davis students finishing grade 2 could take a symbolic walk to Lane school; Lane 5th graders could walk to the John Glenn Middle School and 8th graders to the high school.
The committee report quotes Ron McAdow, Executive Director of the Sudbury Valley Trustees, on the value of trails: “The best trails are works of art, thoughtfully planned and well maintained, equally sensitive to afternoon explorers and permanent residents. Their bridges get us across wet areas and their meanders show us what a place has to offer. They allow our legs to take us into fern-scrubbed air where all the sounds are made by water and wildlife.”
To see a sectioned map of current trails go to: