Mass Central Rail Trail Coalition
The MassCentral Rail Trail logo to the left was designed and trademarked by Wachusett Greenways (WG) in Worcester County back in the mid 1990s to call out the idea of a state-wide trail network. In 1999, WG hosted the first "Golden Spike I" ceremony in West Boylston to high light their success to that time and to begin to cast out that vision of a state wide endeavor. Congressman Jim McGovern spoke enthusiastically and echoed our vision for a statewide greenway before about 100 attendees who then were treated to a tour of the section in West Boylston that had been opened about two years earlier.
In the summer of 2002, "Golden Spike II" was held on the campus of Bentley University in Waltham and hosted by the Wayside Rail Trail Committee. [pix and a brochure from the event can see here.] At this event we invited, local politicians, state reps and senators from every community on the corridor and we secured leaders from the various environmental and transportation agencies to come and speak about our vision. We even invited the gubernatorial candidates of the time. The key though was the hundreds of people from all of the communities along the MCRT who came and helped celebrate our vision of a statewide greenway.
We organized it to be a fun day with a band, food and lots of brochures, posters and other information from every group/community along the corridor. Even though it was a workday, the hottest day of the year [in the 90s], and we had no ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting, over 400 people showed up. At that time, Golden Spike II was a the largest rail trail event ever held in the state.
A few notable things came of Golden Spike II:
1. The formation of the Rail Trail, Bicycle and Pedestrian Caucus in the Massachusetts State House. This is the first such caucus operating at state government level in the U.S. and it is one of the largest bipartisan caucuses operating on Beacon Hill.
2. The creation of the Mass Central Rail Trail Coalition-- MCRTC. We meet on an irregular basis to give updates on each section of the trail, share ideas and contacts, and energize groups to work on their sections.
3. The idea of of a state-wide trail fitted out with a unified name instead of a localized or balkanized name is an important thing. This unified name has come about because of our efforts and it will lead to a unified marketing effort once the trail further knits together.
Our most recent Golden Spike Event was held in Clinton Mass in the spring of 2014 and included a tour of the 900 foot tunnel.
We have all the presentations from that 2014 event now on the MCRT site at this URL: http://masscentralrailtrail.org/townbytown.html