The Mascoma River Greenway

new york bike path, pavedThe Mascoma River Greenway (MRG) will be a 4 mile multi-use pathway starting from the Northern Rail Trail at Spencer Street in downtown Lebanon to Westboro Rail Yard in West Lebanon, extending the Northern Rail Trail from its beginning in southern NH to the Vermont border. The MRG will be the core transportation corridor for bikes and pedestrians through the heart of Lebanon and West Lebanon, connecting Lebanon’s neighborhoods with workplaces, schools, open spaces, shopping areas, a medical center and transit stops.

 

One of the exciting aspects of the Mascoma River Greenway is that it will open up aspects of the Mascoma River that have long been hidden from view.  We have this wonderful resource running through our city, but it is little seen and under-appreciated.  Many folks are eager to bike, hike, run, or ski on the MRG,  others will enjoy a little meander that brings them to a scenic spot on the river. On this frosty January day, one can dream about a summer day and a perfect picnic spot along the river . . . for example, take a satellite view of the small waterfall hiding behind the Miracle Mile . . . wouldn’t that be a great destination for a picnic? https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6363177,-72.2936385,300m/data=!3m1!1e3   (see the white water at the top,  left of center . . . and then take a virtual tour along the river  . . .  it’s not easy to see where the trail is;  you can click on the map above to orient yourself.

 

Moving Forward!

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*Thanks to the generously donated efforts of Ashley Romeo-Boles at the law firm of Schuster, Buttrey and Wing, the railroad and State DOT have joined the City in filing for official Abandonment and Discontinuation of the remaining section of the Greenway.  The 7 pound document has been sent to Washington; when approved by the Federal Government, we will have permission to move forward with the remaining construction.

*Construction of rails on the Slayton Hill Bridge is scheduled for July with a plan to improve access from the trail to the APD parking lot. City Engineering staff will help complete work on the bridge in downtown Lebanon near A.B.Gile.

*The Jane McLaughlin Foundation offered the MRG a matching grant.  If we could raise $50,000 from individual donors, the foundation would donate $200,000, a 4 to 1 match.  We are within $2,300 of meeting the $50,000 match. If you have intended to make a donation to the Mascoma River Greenway, now is the time – you could help secure that match.

The Upper Valley Trails Alliance is the fiscal agent for the Mascoma River Greenway Coalition. To make a tax-deductible donation send checks, made out to UVTA with Mascoma River Greenway in the memo line to:

Upper Valley Trails Alliance
PO Box 1215
Norwich, VT 05055

or make an online donation via our secure website, click here.

Thanks to all who have already donated in so many ways!

Dutille’s Display

DSCN8906Thanks to Dutille’s in downtown Lebanon for their display in support of the Mascoma River Greenway!

What’s happening with the MRG . . . and why can’t I use the trail yet?

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What’s happening with the Mascoma River Greenway . . . and why can’t I use the trail yet?!

The MRG is an ambitious project involving negotiation with the City of Lebanon, NH Dept of Transportation (NHDOT), the Claremont Concord Railroad (CCRR), and the federal government.

Currently, the City of Lebanon has rights up to Mile Marker 140, which is at the eastern side of the bridge over the Mascoma River, near Timken. Through the efforts of countless volunteers, the trail has been cleared of trees, brush, ties, and tracks to Mile Marker 140, with tracks and ties moved to the side awaiting removal.

* The NHDOT has recently signed off on the paperwork relative to the abandonment of the final section of the rail corridor to Route 4 at the Miracle Mile. The railroad still has to sign-off, and has seemed reluctant to do so. The NHDOT has agreed to be the contact with the CCRR. With CCRR approval, the paperwork will be sent to Washington for federal approval.

* The tunnel under the mall in Lebanon, part of the planned MRG route, is deteriorating from water and salt damage and has been closed for safety reasons. We hope the MRG will be able to use a reconstructed tunnel for connecting east and west, but if not, we are looking at alternatives. (MRG funding will not be used to reconstruct the tunnel.)

* Once the Greenway has reached RT 4 on the Miracle Mile, it will connect with a ped/bike path included in the design of the Iron Horse Park, the site of the former Twin State Sand and Gravel Company. This path would connect the MRG from Glen Road to Elm Street West, and then on into downtown West Lebanon.

In the meantime, the MRG is open for exploration from the intersection of Mechanic, Mascoma, and High Street to the Slayon Hill Bridge. Guard rails are planned for that bridge this Fall.

There are still tons of ties to be moved to the landfill. We will be scheduling workdays to remove them. Might you have a one-ton dump truck for us to use? DPW vehicles are in use during the week. Let Frank Gould go2teach@comcast.net know if you can donate use of a dump truck!

Next Step: Guard Rails on I-89 Bridge

I-89 Bridge

A bid has been accepted for installing higher guard rails along the Interstate 89 Bridge. The work is expected to be accomplished this fall.

September Work Days

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In September, there were two work days hefting ties into a dump truck bound for the Lebanon Landfill. The Upper Valley Trails Alliance organized a group of high school students to provide the lifting. They were all young women who worked hard. One was heard to say “I’m glad I’m not out here with a bunch of boys telling me how much better they are than I am.” They did wonderful work!

On September 8th, another group loaded several truckloads of ties and then pulled about 100 yards of ties out of the weeds and onto the railbed. Later, a group of Dartmouth freshmen arrived and lifted those ties and others into trucks. The afternoon crew was organized by UVTA through the Granite United Way’s Day of Caring. Thank you to everyone involved!

Thank You Timken!

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August 28th, prior to Lebanon’s End-of-Summer fireworks, Timken plant manager, Bob Bauman, and colleagues Melanie Huston and Steve Arenburg, joined MRG leaders on the Lebanon Mall to present the Greenway with a check for $352,900. Thank you Timken Aerospace Foundation in Canton, Ohio, and your community-minded foundation!