|Williamstown's Green River Trail Planned for Fall Completion|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff|
07:07AM / Sunday, August 01, 2021
|A foot path along the Green River accessed from the Water Street portion of Linear Park in Williamstown.|
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Hoosic River Watershed Association hopes this fall to complete a trail along the Green River that will link both portions of Linear Park.
HooRWA Executive Director Steve McMahon said last week that the group plans to welcome a group of college students from the Massachusetts Student Conservation Corps to cut the trail in September.
The plan is to continue a trail along the river's east bank that begins just below the parking lot at the Linear Park off Water Street. The trail will run north, more or less, along the river until it reaches the river crossing on Main Street (Route 2).
This summer, tree clearing was evident near the Main Street bridge that spans the Green River, but McMahon said that work is unrelated to the planned HooRWA trail but rather a bridge project planned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The cleared trees are in an area where the trail will come up to the sidewalk along Main Street. People wishing to walk between the two sections of the park will need to cross Route 2 on the crosswalk to access the Linear Park located north of Main Street, where the town-owned tennis court is located.
At some point, trail users may be able to avoid the crosswalk, but that remains to be seen, McMahon said.
"If [Mass DOT] does the current design plan, it will include a little pedestrian path underneath the bridge," he said. "They call it a wildlife passage so wildlife can get from one side of Route 2 to the other side, but people could use it.
"We'll have to see how it works out, but we were pleased to see it was included in their project. We will have to do some serious design on the downstream [North] side of the bridge that utilizes the wildlife passage."
Even if the wildlife passage remains part of the MassDOT project and HooRWA finds a way to get hikers back up from the passage to the north side of Main Street, the pedestrian path from the riverbank to the sidewalk on the south side of Main Street will continue to be part of the trail, McMahon pointed out. When the Green River is running high, the wildlife passage might not be accessible for walkers.
Speaking of high water, McMahon's response when asked whether a continued wet summer will throw off plans for a September trail cutting was, "Bite your tongue."
He noted that the state funders at Mass Trails, a division of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, understand if weather causes a change to the project's timeline.
The trail project already has been delayed once due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented work on the site last summer.
In addition to the Mass Trails money, HooRWA received a grant of $20,176 in Community Preservation Act money from Williamstown's annual town meeting in May 2019.
If the trail's current timeline holds, McMahon said HooRWA hopes the path will be usable by this October, when the association holds its annual Riverworks arts outdoor exhibit in October.