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Hopkinton opens new Greenway nature trail near town center

Lucia Kittredge proudly labels herself “a big walker.” As a member of the Hopkinton Open Space Committee, she has been working to create the Hopkinton Village Greenway for months. She’ll also be one of the leaders of the town’s inaugural hike on the new 4.5-mile trail tomorrow afternoon.

The Hopkinton Open Space Committee and Conservation Commission will cut the ribbon tomorrow on the Greenway, which circles the town center and creates a walking path through surrounding woodlands.

The trail “gets people into the woods and past some beautiful wetlands and bogs and trees. . . . For a lot of people, they’ll be able to leave their houses and walk a section of the

Greenway without ever having to get in their cars,” Kittredge said. “This is a livable, walkable community.”

Rob Knight, a member of the Conservation Commission, said the new trail connects bits and pieces of trails that already exist on protected land in the Hopkinton area. By linking the trails, the Greenway forms a longer recreational trail close to the town.

“The idea was twofold,” Knight said. “One was that if somebody wants to go for a longer outing . . . you wouldn’t have to drive to the White Mountains. (The other was) to introduce people that weren’t aware of some of these properties, so people would be aware of how attractive it is.”

The trail will open this weekend with the efforts of both commissions, as well private landowners who gave permission to use sections of their property for the trail. Knight said all the Hopkinton residents who came together on the trail believed the land should be enjoyed by the town more often.

“There’s some wildlife, but I think it’s more the topography,” Knight said. “For example, the Kimball Lake section goes right along the shore of a really pretty pond and huge old pine trees along the shore of the lake. . . . When you get to the Hawthorne Forest, there’s a wonderful deep ravine with a street along the side of it that you hike next to.”

Trailhead parking will be available at Kimball Lake, Ransmeier Woods and Hawthorne Forest. The trail will also cross several local roads, including Hopkinton’s Main Street. Because the trail accesses local roads and the center of Hopkinton, Kittredge said those walkers looking for a shorter hike will be able to enter and exit without needing to walk its entire 4.5 miles.

The trail is designed for foot traffic and nonmotorized recreational use, and Kittredge said dogs are welcome on the path. As the seasons change, the trail will remain open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.

The new trail is for “all seasons and all ages,” Kittredge said.

“For people who are so used to driving through the village and thinking of the village as homes . . . this gets people into that greenbelt that surrounds Hopkinton village,” Kittredge said.

The trail opening will begin with a brief ceremony and a group hike at 1 p.m. at the Kimball Lake cabins, located on Kimball Street just off Hopkinton’s Main Street. Refreshments will be provided at the halfway point of the hike, near the Sweatt Preserve and Old Stagecoach Road.

More information about the Greenway and other trails in Hopkinton is available at hopkintonconservationland.org.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or
mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

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