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Boston & Sharon, MA – September 5, 2012 – The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) are announcing today a joint effort to assist the Bay Circuit Alliance (BCA) in the completion, enhancement, and long-term protection of the 200-mile Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway. Often referred to as Greater Boston’s “Outer Emerald Necklace,” the Bay Circuit Trail is a multi-use recreational trail and greenway encircling 57 towns and cities in the Boston metropolitan area between Route 128 and Interstate 495, and running through 37 communities from Plum Island to Duxbury, connecting thousands of acres of scenic and historic areas and conservation lands. The Bay Circuit Trail, close to 4 million people in Eastern Massachusetts, offers many opportunities for walking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, with many sections accessible by MBTA commuter rail.
The collaboration between AMC and The Trustees was formed in anticipation of the retirement later this year of long-time BCA Chairman Al French of Andover, an avid outdoorsman and conservationist who volunteered in 1990 to organize and lead the Bay Circuit Alliance, which is made up of community trail groups, land trusts, conservation commissions, nonprofits and individuals who have been working to complete and maintain the Bay Circuit. Through the tireless volunteer efforts and advocacy of French, hundreds of volunteers, and more than 30 cooperating towns, 180 miles of the Bay Circuit Trail are now designated and 4,000 acres of greenway are now protected.
AMC and The Trustees will work with the Alliance to fulfill the vision of the Bay Circuit by completing the final 20 miles of the Trail, recruiting and organizing volunteers, improving the Bay Circuit Trail experience through consistent maintenance and signage and moving sections of the Trail off roads, securing permanent protection for the Trail corridor, and promoting the Trail to the public. In addition to these joint efforts, AMC will support the Trails Management Advisory Committee, which provides guidance and expertise to trail stewards and communities, while The Trustees will support land protection planning and coordination, such as helping to close remaining gaps along the Trail.
”This collaboration is really a natural fit for both AMC and The Trustees from a leadership and historic perspective,” says Al French, Bay Circuit Alliance Chairman. “The combined expertise of two leading organizations in trail management, stewardship, conservation, and public outreach and engagement are exactly what The Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway needs to realize its full potential as a premier outdoor recreation destination for everyone.”
“This is the perfect project for AMC and The Trustees to work together on, leveraging the strengths of each organization” says John D. Judge, AMC President. “We see tremendous opportunities for using the Bay Circuit Trail to get urban kids and families outdoors, get teens involved in trails stewardship, and energize our 16,000 trail volunteers to bring this project to the next level.”
“With our combined areas of strength and expertise, we look forward to working with AMC to make the Bay Circuit Trail the premier recreational trail in the Greater Boston area, adds Barbara Erickson, Trustees President. “Since eight of our 108 reservations are already part of The Trail, this collaboration is a natural extension of our work to protect, care for, and share Massachusetts most spectacular outdoor places. We’re excited to now help ensure The Trail’s long-term protection and introduce so many more people to the joys of getting outdoors.”
“As an agency with a similar mission, we applaud AMC, The Trustees, and the Bay Circuit Alliance on this momentous occasion,” said Edward M. Lambert, Jr., Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). “The work of enhancing and preserving our natural and recreational resources is an endeavor strengthened by collaborative efforts like this. We are proud at DCR to host portions of the Bay Circuit Trail through many of our state parks and forests, and are confident that this new venture will maintain and improve the experience of those who use this tremendous resource.”
The origins of the Bay Circuit date to more than 80 years ago, when a movement developed calling for a trail outside of Boston to emulate the city’s famed Emerald Necklace, a string of nine parks stretching from the Charles River to Franklin Park in Dorchester. Early visionaries included former AMC and Trustees of Reservations leaders Benton MacKaye, father of the Appalachian Trail, and Charles Eliot II, nephew of Trustees founder Charles Eliot and a protégé of Emerald Necklace designer Frederick Law Olmsted.
For more information on the work of AMC and The Trustees in support of the Bay Circuit Trail, and ways to get involved, see www.baycircuittrail.org.
The Bay Circuit Alliance
Since its founding in 1990, the Bay Circuit Alliance (BCA) has served to organize and direct the effort to realize the Bay Circuit Trail vision and mission. A total of 180 miles of multi-use, passive recreational trail have now been dedicated, thanks to the contributions of hundreds of volunteers in more than 30 cooperating towns. The Alliance is a collaboration of more than 50 cities, towns, and land trusts, public and private organizations, and individuals, as well as hundreds of dedicated volunteers, working in support of the Bay Circuit. Learn more at www.baycircuit.org.
The Appalachian Mountain Club
Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club is America’s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, the nonprofit AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation, based on the philosophy that successful, long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment. The AMC has over 20,000 members and four chapters in Massachusetts, and maintains more than 600 miles of trails in the state, including the Appalachian Trail, the New England National Scenic Trail, and the Mid-State Trail. Learn more at www.outdoors.org.
The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations is the nation’s oldest statewide land conservation organization founded by open space visionary and founder of Massachusetts’ public park system Charles Eliot in 1891 to “hold in trust” and care for properties of scenic, cultural and natural significance. Supported by more than 40,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and care for 108 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 77 communities throughout Massachusetts for current and future generations to enjoy. Trustees reservations contain more than 350 miles of hiking trails and connect to the Appalachian Trail, Cape Cod Pathways, Bay Circuit Trail, Mid-State Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, Monoosnoc Trail, Tully Trail, and the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve. The Trustees work to promote healthy, active, and green communities across Massachusetts by providing hundreds of year-round programs, events, and engagement opportunities for all ages. Accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, The Trustees is an established leader in the conservation movement and a model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. Learn more at www.thetrustees.org.