Last December, I shared an effort by the Southborough Trails Committee to get public support for an initiative. As part of the Boroughs Loop Trail project, the Boroughs are seeking to include a link to Aquaduct Trails.
The effort had been slowed down by the pandemic. One sign that the effort is getting back on track is an upcoming, virtual, public meeting.
In early 2020, DCR was working on a public access plan. The pandemic put the process of collecting public input on hold.
Last winter, 1,600+ signatures were collected on a statement of support for the project. Next week, Mass DCR is holding a “Listening Session” that should encompass the topic.
The session is titled “Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs Watershed Public Access Plan Update”. I checked in with Southborough Trails Committee Chair Kathryn McKee. She explained:
This listening session will not be focused on Southborough Trails, but it will involve a discussion when the Trails Committee asks questions or makes suggestions related to the trail we’re trying to open on the land that will be included in this plan. . .
Southborough needs this access plan updated to include the parcel of land near Fayville Dam so the Trails Committee can move forward with the fencing requirements & signage to open this section of Trail (closes Southborough’s largest gap for Boroughs Loop & Aqueduct Trail). . .
This is the step we wanted to see happen. It means the ball is rolling again. Getting this plan in place this year means the Trails Committee can submit a MassTrails Grant Proposal in early 2022 and use those CPA Funds, that the town voted to approve at Spring Town Meeting, as matching funds (unless an unforeseen event takes place the prevents a proposal from being submitted or if the program won’t allow us to submit a proposal without a fully executed plan). . .
I don’t know what DCR will include in their presentation but the Southborough Trails Topic will come up in Q&A.
The public is invited to attend the session (virtually):
Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs Watershed Public Access Plan Update
Public Listening Session
Wednesday September 22, 2021 @ 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Join: Click here to join the meeting
At this remotely held public meeting, the DCR Division of Water Supply Protection team for this project will provide an overview of the process and timelines that will be used to update the Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs Watershed Public Access Plan. The Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs are emergency water supplies for the DCR/Massachusetts Water Resources Authority system that provides drinking water to over 3 million Massachusetts residents. The last public access plan update for this watershed occurred in 2010.
The purpose of this public access plan is to review existing policies and implement changes based on sound science to control impacts to water quality from passive recreation activity on DCR Division of Water Supply Protection lands in the Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs watershed.
If you need assistance joining the meeting, please contact Daniel.cushing@Mass.gov. After the presentation, the public will be invited to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed design.
After the meeting, the presentation will be available for viewing at https://www.mass.gov/dcr/past-public-meetings. DCR encourages the public to share additional feedback, with a deadline for receipt of comments by DCR of October 13th, 2021. Comments may be submitted online at http://www.mass.gov/dcr/public-comment. Please note that the content of comments you submit to DCR, along with your name, town, and zip code, will be posted on DCR’s website. Additional contact information required when commenting, notably email address, will only be used for outreach on future updates on the subject project or property.
If you have agency-related questions or concerns or would like to be added to an email list to receive DCR general or project-specific announcements, please email Mass.Parks@mass.gov or call 617-626-4973.
For more details, click here.
For more on the Southborough Trails Committee’s project, click here.