West End Farm Trail connects Concord farms
A seven-mile trail linking three farms on the west side of Concord will be dedicated Saturday, completing a plan to connect some of Concord’s open spaces.
The West End Farm Trail spans 7.25 miles from the Silk Farm Road bike path to Carter Hill Orchard, passing through Dimond Hill Farm and Rossview Farm. Each of the three farms is protected by its own conservation easement.
“It’s the first trail in Concord that really looks to connect open space land and look outside the boundary of the first initial land protection project,” Senior Planner Becky Hebert said.
The city’s trails committee, a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission, has been working for at least five years to create the trail system, said Rob Knight, a member of the trails committee.
“I think it’s going to be a really nice resource for the active part of the community,” Knight said.
The city has worked with Five Rivers Conservation Trust to secure conservation easements for Dimond Hill Farm and Carter Hill Orchard. In 2007, the U.S. Forest Service helped the city place a conservation easement on Rossview Farm to protect it from future development.
“One of the city goals is to preserve that rural character,” Hebert said. “So that’s another big-picture reason why we go after open spaces.”
Eventually, Hebert said, the city would like to extend the trail network in a loop through Marjory Swope Park off Long Pond Road, donated last year by John Swope in memory of his wife, a longtime Concord city councilor and state conservation leader.
A plan to create the new West End Farm Trail took shape in 2010, when the city purchased 85 acres on Currier Road through a foreclosure sale of land that had belonged to developer Kevin Guay. Hebert said the parcel of land was key to connecting the farms. Also in 2010, Concord received an $18,550 grant from the state to develop a trail system on Rossview Farm.
In the past two years, the city has worked to clear the trails and receive permission from property owners on three parcels of land between the protected spaces.
“It took some time to get everybody on the same page and to get all the permissions that the city needed to move forward on it,” Hebert said.
In a release about the trail, the city thanked the Weston family, the Crosby family and the four partners of Country Hill Estates for permission to use their land.
Knight and other volunteers have been clearing the trails for the past year.
“It is somewhat labor intensive, but working out in the woods is always fun,” Knight said.
The city also worked to clear the trail and build bridges to connect it in some places, Knight said.
Hebert said the trails are not funded with taxpayer money. The city’s forestry trust program is self-sustaining, she said, earning revenue from timber sales on city-owned land that is used for forest management.
“It’s fun to start on one end of Concord and end up down on the other end of Concord,” he said.
A previous version of this article stated that bicyclists can use the trail. Bicycles are not permitted on the new West End Farm Trail where it crosses Rossview Farm without the permission of the Ross family.