Rail-trail years are like dog years. In the world of planning and building a rail-trail, calendar years equal mere months, and a decade is barely a cycle of the seasons. In this world, where even the best rail-trail projects can take 20 or 30 years to come to fruition, patience, commitment and consistency are the most valuable of traits, their owners oaks of the movement rather than blazing stars streaking across the sky.
As is Bike to the Sea, Inc. Since 1993 this Massachusetts nonprofit has been a solid voice for the creation of a nine-mile bike and pedestrian trail, known as the Northern Strand Community Trail, from Malden to the beaches of Lynn and Revere on the shores of Broad Sound and Nahant Bay. While the state has long recognized that a trail to the sea along the unused Saugus Branch rail line is feasible, the task of raising support, awareness and funds for the project has been left to local advocates.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has assisted in that crucial effort. Thanks to our partners at The Coca Cola Foundation, last year we granted Bike to the Sea $12,500 in order to meet the matching requirement for a Recreational Trail Program (RTP) grant of more than $84,000. This money enabled the first phases of construction of the Northern Strand Community Trail earlier this year, in Saugus.
This ribboncutting came at a poignant time, with Bike to the Sea this year marking its 20th anniversary--two decades since a small group of locals beginning advocating for a pathway they knew would provide a tremendous benefit for the region.
To celebrate, Bike to the Sea will hold a 20th Anniversary Gala at the Dockside Restaurant function room on the corner of Commercial and Medford streets, Malden, Friday, November 2, at 6:30 p.m. The event will be a terrific occasion to reflect on the many achievements of local advocates over the past two decades, including new sections of rail-trail in Everett, Malden and Saugus, and to look forward to the years of trail building ahead.
Space is limited. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.