How Far We Have Come! Next Steps?

MRG Clearing Effort – Summer 2013

Do you remember how the Greenway looked ten years ago? There was a vision:

“The Mascoma River Greenway (MRG) will be a 4 mile multi-use separated pathway starting from the current terminus of the Northern Rail Trail at Spencer Street in downtown Lebanon, NH to West Lebanon’s Rt. 12-A and Seminary Hill, extending the Northern Rail Trail from its beginning in southern NH. 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, restaurants, a medical center and transit stops.”

Did we fully appreciate how many steps there would be along the way? So much problem-solving! Negotiations with the State of NH and the railroads, fundraising, access points, parking, maps, benches, kiosks, bridge reconstruction, erosion control, tunnel redevelopment, collapse of the Iron Horse Park plans that would facilitate reaching West Lebanon.

It has taken huge effort on the part of many people (browse through this blogsite to see some of that effort), including lots of volunteer energy to get us where we are today. And there is lots of energy building, in West Lebanon in particular, to complete and expand the vision. Last October, a host of volunteers turned out for the clean-up and revitalization of the Bridge Street area – a new park which now has picnic tables, story signs, and many more trees and plantings. (See Photos and Lebanon Times article on the event.) And then take a look at an expanded vision of developing the Westboro Yards Waterfront Park and connecting the trail to downtown West Lebanon, to Vermont, to Boston Lot and beyond. You can join the mailing list at that expanded vision site and follow the progress . . . and maybe join in the effort? Lots of other resources available at that site.

Here is the text of Cindy Heath’s tribute to the MRG founders and supporters at the official Opening Day of the MRG in 2018.

Cycling Without Age Impact Report 2022

“A passenger who rarely left the house during the pandemic decided CWA was how she wanted to re-engage with her community. Her pilot reported “it went so well…such a positive experience…. She was quite emotional with gratitude at the end and asked for a hug. So, this amazing program that you have been responsible for bringing to the Upper Valley brought somebody a lot of joy today. Thank you!! (It actually brought TWO people a lot of joy today 🙂).”


Two resident seniors rode together during the “Try the Trishaw” event, and after returning, one said she had never heard the other speak until they were on the trishaw ride.


“I was able to enjoy a ride with [pilot] this morning. It was fantastic. I feel so lucky to be able to access this in my own backyard. Many thanks to all those who worked to make it happen. I’m still grinning.” Passenger


One of our octogenarian passengers biked across the country several times in his younger years. He has dementia now but was delighted to enjoy wind in his hair and autumn colors flying by again.


The feedback from all participants has been amazing, touching, and motivating.

Great Acoustics in the Tunnel!

Sean, visiting Lebanon from Portland, Oregon, enjoyed discovering the piano on his walk through the tunnel with baby Io. He appreciated the tunnel’s acoustics!

Cycling Without Age FNRT Report – November 2022

Wood’s Pink Asters

While Echinacea, Bee Balm. Queen Anne’s Lace, Lupine, lilies, and so many other flowers have passsed by, these late-blooming asters on the MRG Pollinator Corridor have become an important resource to a variety of pollinators. Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, and flies are still looking for pollen and nectar and these asters are a welcomed bit of color, for humans too.

Yellow Collared Scape Moth
Common Bottle Fly
Drone Fly

Hardy Pollinator Flowers

In spite of the frost, there are still flowers in bloom mid-October: Sunflowers, Garlic Chives, Black-eyed Susans, and Asters, to name a few. Bees, wasps, and other pollinators continue to visit our MRG Pollinator Corridor, such as this bee on a Wood’s Pink Aster at Dysfuntion Junction. (Intersection of Mechanic, Mascoma, High streets.)

Cycling Without Age

Terri and Chipper Ashley

Our 5th pilot orientation was held Wednesday, October 5th from 4:30-6pm at Eldridge Lot in Lebanon (between Jim Wechsler Field and Canillas Community Garden.) To learn more about the program and try out the trishaw!  Sign up here to be notified of future orientation events
We are now registering passengers here! 

To learn more about Cycling Without Age see: https://cyclingwithoutage.com/

A Reminder: The MRG Belongs to Everyone!

Just a reminder that the MRG is a shared-use path; it is a place for EVERYONE, from the preschooler on a tricycle or balance bike, to a hard-of-hearing elder walking a dog . . . and everyone in between. It is not the place for speed training on skates or bikes. Slow down, say hello, and help make it enjoyable for everyone.

Lebanon and State of NH Reach Westboro Rail Yard Agreement

Westboro Rail Yard

After years of stasis on making land in the Westboro Rail Yard publicly available, state and city officials last week met to talk over a potential sale of 6.7 acres of state-owned land along the Connecticut that could, at some point, become a park and provide a link through West Leb to the Mascoma River Greenway and Northern Rail Trail. They reached a tentative agreement, reports Patrick Adrian in the Valley News: The city will buy the land for an undetermined price, the state will remove existing contaminants. There is a long list of official sign-offs to come.

The Wild Beauty of the MRG!

It has been several years since I”ve been able to get out to the western end of the MRG . . . and I had forgotten the wild beauty . . . who would guess there would be such vistas between Mechanic Street and Mascoma/Old Pine Cemetery Road?!?

Riverbend – looking North
Riverbend – looking South
Fields of Goldenrod – as far as the eye can see

How did I get there with my bone-on-bone knees? By Trishaw, piloted by a delightfiul pilot, Amy Chan. Amy is on the Board of the Northern Rail Trail; the NRT. has been collaborating with Lebanon Recreation, Arts, and Parks to bring the international program Cycling Without Age to Lebanon.

Trishaw Pilot Amy Chan

It was a beautiful day and Amy and I met at the MRG tunnel and headed west to the end at Glen Road. I wish I had taken photos of all the people we met along the trail! Lots of walkers and bikers, a scooter or two, babies and toddlers in strollers, and two little ones on their pedal-free balance bikes. There was so much to see, including this trailside Black Swallowtail caterpillar on Queen Anne’s Lace.

For those of us with mobility or stamina issues, this Trishaw program is a wonderful gift and it will be available as soon as Trishaw pilots have been trained. You can learn about becoming a Trishaw pilot and upcoming trainings by contacting Sean.dittrich@gmail.com. To support this program in other ways, contact Amyjwchan@gmail.com.

Thanks to Amy, the NRT, and Lebanon Recreation, Arts, and Parks for bringing this great program to Lebanon! Stay tuned for next steps once we have trained pilots . . . 30 volunteers have already signed up!

http://www.fnrt.org

https://www.facebook.com/FNRTNH

To learn more about Cycling Without Age see: https://cyclingwithoutage.com/