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.
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?!?
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
The City of Lebanon has completed paving from Spencer Street to Bank St Extension including a safety-forward pedestrian crossing beacon. This crosswalk connects the MRG /tunnel and new multiuse path to the Northern Rail Trail all the way to Boscawen, NH.
Thanks to the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail for this image!
It was good to see so many people gathered in the tunnel for the unveiling of the new art work.
“Pollinators” – depicting some of the life along the Mascoma River Greenway.
These are the first two pieces of the tunnel vision – more art is being planned for the tunnel and the MRG!
(Did you wonder about the inclusion of a fish on the Pollinator piece? Here is research from the University of Florida: “Scientists have discovered that fish indirectly help spread pollen among flowers near the water. That’s because they eat dragonfly larva, which live in freshwater ponds and other water bodies. Adult dragonflies are major predators of bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. The result is a simple but unexpected cascade: The more fish, the fewer dragonflies, the more bees and butterflies, the more plant pollination, reproduction and seeds.” So it would seem that fish are actually partners in pollination, thought they themselves do not pollinate . . .and it is the dragonflies in the art work that we might question.) More
Akwaaba means Welcome; it is a twi word, spoken by the Akan tribe of Ghana. All were welcome as the Akwaaba Ensemble brought their good energy to the MRG. chanting and drumming their way though the tunnel. leading a parade of local drummers, dancers, and enthusiasts, the echoes resounding off the tunnel walls.
It was great to see so many joining in on the fun!
These flowers are Alder catkins with elongated male catkins on the same plant as shorter female catkins. They often emerge before leaves appear and are mainly wind-pollinated, but also visited by bees.
The Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC) has finished compiling and analyzing the data for the Mascoma River Greenway. Survey results are hosted here at www.uvlsrpc.org/rail-trails. Many thanks to Colin Smith for his work on the dashboard. #railtotrail #MRG #railstotrails #railstotrailsconservancy #connectlebtowestleb
Looking eastward under Hanover Street bridge toward the downtown Mall
Though it will be many months before the work is completed, it’s encouraging to see progress toward connecting the Mascoma River Greenway to the Northern Rail Trail via the tunnel. The Mall parking area, that once formed the roof of the tunnel, has been removed. (See the plan for how it will eventually look.) There is a plan for major work to be done on the Hanover Street bridge next summer, which is likely to delay tunnel use, but step by step we are moving forward.