Greater Boston NEMBA Helps Build Trail Access to Lexington School

Thirty-one people from a variety of organizations, including the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) convened in Lexington, Massachusetts to build a trail to provide neighborhood students access to the Bridge School.

NEMBA workers The project, which consisted of clearing brush, stumps, trees, and trash from a 750 foot trail and the construction of four bridges totaling 154 feet, was basically completed in six hours. Present were representatives from the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee, The Lexington Planning Board, Friends of the Minuteman Bikeway, Bridge School PTA, Citizens for Lexington Conservation, and NEMBA members Chris Harris and son Jesse, Paul Peaslee, David Kleinschmidt, and Mike Tabaczynski, who all took leadership roles during the construction, and were generally referred to by the Lexington locals as "the experts from the mountain bike club". Paul brought the SEMASAS tool trailer and the Lexington Department of Public Works furnished hardware, a portable generator, and a 1/2 inch drill. Dominos donated Pizza lunch for the entire crew. The trail was masterminded by long-time Lexington resident Marita Hartshorn who worked tirelessly for years pushing the project through the political process from proposal, to town meeting, to planning board, and finally to conservation commission. Bridge School Student Jack Sewell had the honor of driving the last spike in the last bridge.

Drawing on his experience at NEMBA trail building school and numerous trail maintenance events, Mike Tabaczynski designed the trail as a model shared use trail. To match the relatively flat and obstacle-free natural landscape in the area, the trail has no abrupt curves or steps so it can be safely and easily traversed by kids and seniors on foot, jogging strollers, cross-country skis, and fat-tired bicycles. To protect the environment, all bridges were built with arsenic-free ACQ pressure treated lumber.

In a town like Lexington, which typifies many traffic-plagued Massachusetts suburbs, this trail is expected to be a link in a network of pathways that provide energy-efficient pollution-free transportation between neighborhoods, while also providing users a peaceful nature experience. The success of this project demonstrates what can be accomplished when normally disconnected people with apparently dissimilar interests work together towards a common goal; that meets the needs of all concerned parties.

Mike Trabaczynski -- Published in SingleTracks #59, Dec/Jan 2002.