Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Easy Walks in Franklin - SNETT

We are fortunate to be able to share a few excerpts from "Easy Walks in Massachusetts: Bellingham, Blackstone, Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Milford, Millis, Uxbridge, Wrentham, and Woonsocket, RI" recently published byMarjorie Turner Hollman.

The entrance to the SNETT in winter
The entrance to the SNETT in winter

Notable: This section of the SNETT (Southern New England Trunkline Trail) railtrail is mostly graded and cleared, and still being developed. Stone retaining walls, steep slopes to woods below the trail.

Trail Map: Available from website—Division of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

GPS Coordinates: 42°3'43.06"N, 71°25'42.55"W

Directions: Rt. 495 exit 17, Rt. 140, Franklin, head toward Bellingham, Grove St is immediately past interchange, turn left at light. Follow Grove St. 2 miles, look for SNETT signs, parking on left, trailhead on right.

Cost: None.

Bathrooms: None.

Best time to visit: Year round. Cross-country skiing in winter.

Trail conditions: Wide, flat, unimproved former railbed. Steep climb up and over Prospect St. where trail is obstructed. Moguls created by dirt bikes. Graded from Grove St. to Spring St.

Distance: About 1.5 miles from Grove St. to Bellingham line.

Easy guide - SNETT
Easy guide - SNETT

This mostly unimproved former rail bed/right of way is owned by the Mass. Dept of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), extending from Franklin through Bellingham, Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, and into Douglas. Poor drainage due to removal of the original rail ballast, and “humps” caused by prohibited off-track vehicles poses both minor and major challenges in various sections. 
The easternmost section in Franklin is graded (2013) but is otherwise unimproved. Proceeding west, the trail crosses Spring St and open farmland in just over half a mile. Watch for poison ivy. At about the 1-mile mark the trail is blocked by a 20-foot high infill where Prospect St crosses the trail. Stay off residential property and driveways. 
From Prospect St. there is a .5 mile unimproved but passable stretch to the Lake St. Bellingham parking area. This section of the path offers 20-foot high rock cuts with original drill marks. The boundary between the Bellingham and Franklin sections of the trail is unmarked.

You can obtain your own copy of this book via this Amazon link

Other easy walks in Franklin:

Beaver Pond/Chilson Beach

Dacey Fields

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