I would like to close out 2019 by thanking all of our members, sponsors and volunteers. Without you, we would not have been able to accomplish all that we did in 2019!

* We had 18 rides (588 riders), a tack sale, three campouts, and seven trail work days with $9,117.74 in volunteer labor (283.6 hours) including lunches of $173.45 for volunteer work.

* 28.75 hours of other trail work worth $924.31. (What has been turned in to date)

* Bought a new FS240 Stihl Brush Cutter. Thanks to a generous donation from  Constellation, an Exelon company of $500, an additional donation from Koopman Lumber of $100, and BSTRA contributing $103.32, we were able to purchase this work horse of a machine for trail work.

* FY2019 Partnership Award to repair 2.1 miles of trails at Upton State Forest final payment made of  $2,086.34 and the project was completed.

* Had a booth at Equine Affaire.

* BSTRA received the Volunteer of the Year Award from DCR.

* We held a volunteer luncheon to thank our volunteers.

* Presented our Trail Safety & Etiquette at Mass Equine Clinic Wet Lab.

* Presented at the Mass Trails Conference – Solutions to slick bridge decking & trail hardening and sustainment using geo-textile synthetics.

That gives us a grand total of $13,005.16 that was put into trails by BSTRA in 2019!

* Our Fund Raising Committee raised over $31,000 in 2019 for trail projects!



West Hill Dam Trail Work Day April 13th

We had to do a bit of weather work-around for this trail work day. We started at 11:00 instead of 8:30 so we didn’t have to work in the rain. It worked out perfectly just waiting a few hours to let it all pass.

The trails were not in bad shape.     We split into two crews. The crew I was on worked on the West Woodland Trail (red) and the other crew went over to the East Woodland Trail (yellow).

We found one small pine across the trail, so glad that it was a dead pine and not an oak since we only had hand saws to cut it up. Our section had a couple of water bars that had to be cleaned out, but the East Woodland Trail had most of the water bars, which the second crew had to clean out. Cleaning them out once a year keeps water off   the trails and helps prevent erosion.

I played in the water when we got to the small bridge. There were numerous branches that had accumulated at the intake end that needed to be pulled out to free the current which with the high water proved to be quite strong.

I have to say this was probably the most people I have seen  on the trails while we were out there working. Some of them were kind enough to thank us for the job we were doing.

When we were done, we all returned back to the headquarters building before heading out for lunch. While there, one of the boy scouts stopped in (they had a campout going on) and was talking to Viola about his “music” project he was doing in the park. Seems he is going to make a xylophone out of pvc pipe that people can play when they are visiting West Hill Dam. Now that sounds like fun, maybe we can be our own Blue Man Group!!

Many thanks to the following who gave a day and made a difference:  Deb Deschenes (she traveled the farthest), Sheila Guimond, Bill Knott, Becky Kalagher, Rose Zariczny, Suzanne Nicholas, Joyce Sandvik, Gloria Duhaime,  Karen Parlin, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, and West Hill Dam’s Ranger Viola Bramel. In total, we put in 27.5 hours of volunteer work.  Using the Independent Sector 2018 rate for volunteers in Massachusetts of $32.15 per hour means our work was worth $884.13


Small Bridge April 29

Sad to say, there was some procrastination on this project. We bought the mats for this two years ago.

Small bridge, that like most bridges, was quite slippery and needed some attention.

Well I am happy to report that I finally got that project done on April 24th.

One of our sponsors, Bill Porter from WHP Trucking & Excavating was working on a job at the house where it was the closest to access that bridge. It was still at least .4 of a mile in.

We walked it to see if he could possibly get his skid steer down the path to bring all the materials in, but no such luck.  Bill did help me bring in the materials by “hand” which was  very much appreciated.

I installed the rubber mats on top and put a couple of “cleats” on the small ramp.

Becky 3 hours, 20 minutes, Bill 45 minutes with a total value of $131.17.


Park Serve Day Upton State Forest April 27th

Despite the threat of rain, 21 people came out on Saturday, April 27th to volunteer for Park Serve Day at Upton State Forest.  Wielding rakes, clippers, and chain saws, volunteers cleaned up the CCC headquarters, trimming trees, raking, mulching and planting flowers.  Others headed out to the trails to clear the Swamp, Middle, Loop and Hawk trails. The Friends of Upton State Forest provided much needed nourishment of pizza and drinks after several hours of hard work.    

Thanks to all the volunteers from the Friends of Upton State Forest, Bay State Trail Riders Association and their sponsorship by Homefield Credit Union, DCR, and others who helped get USF ready for spring and summer activities at the Forest. 

Our BSTRA members (and some that are also FUSF members) that volunteered are Crysanda Boisvert, Joyce Sandvik, Becky Kalagher, Rose Zariczny, Leah Zariczny, Valerie Clark, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Nicholas, Deb Deschenes, Mary McManus, Sue Quirk, and Lurissa Marston. The twelve BSTRA members put in 42 hours that had a value of $1,350.30.

The nine other volunteers had a total of 31.5 hours that had a value of $1,012.73 making a grand total of  $2,363.03 put back into trails and DCR property.


Park Serve Day Douglas State Forest April 28th

Our goal for this work day was improvements to our original connector trail (between South West Main St. and the Saddle Trail).

When we first started on this project, the trail placement was a bit limited due to what DCR owned at the time. What was in progress was the purchase of a piece of property adjacent to where this trail went in.

So, this new piece of property offered much better footing, so a reroute was made to part of the connector trail.

I spent some time mapping out the new reroute and did some pre-cutting with the chainsaw so that we could have our work day move smoothly. A total of 4.75 hours was put in for the pre-work.

We had 16 people plus Cary from DCR tackling our trail project. First wave of people trimmed up the road shoulder and picked up the trash. Trail users will have to utilize the shoulder for a bit to then cross the road for the trail connection.

Second wave headed down the trail to pick up any downed branches and the trees that were cut during the pre-work day sessions. We also had someone using the pole saw to trim up branches for horseback rider height clearance and Cary with his chainsaw to get rid of all the downed trees on the trail.

Once they had that cleared, the third wave consisting of two brush cutters started their work. One on one side of the trail and one on the other side.

Behind them we had people picking up the cut brush and cutting stuff that we missed. And behind that was someone with a leaf blower to clean off the trail so it is now defined.

I have to say, the choreographing of this trail work day worked out really well.

Everyone worked really hard on this project and I was so impressed with what we did get done.

Thanks to the following for the great job: Becky Kalagher, Lee Paresky, Rose Zariczny, Maureen Bourcier, Diane Gryncewicz, Abbi Guy, Logan Miller, Shelby Hunt, Jessica Rea, Deb Deschenes, Bill Knott, Robert & Carla Williams (brand new members!), Cheryl Fitzpatrick, Darlene Falcone, and Bethany Videto. And of course Cary VandanAkker from DCR.

So we put in a total of 68 hours on this work day, plus the 4.75 put in earlier, giving us a grand total of 72.75 hours which means that our volunteer work for this project was worth $2,338.91!

After our hard work, we all enjoyed a well deserved lunch paid for by BSTRA at $121.76.


Hodges Village Dam Trail Work Day in Oxford May 4th

We tackled the other half the of the trail that we started last year. We put the new brush cutter to use again. So both sides of the rest of the trail did get cut back by Becky, with the rest of the crew cleaning up the cut brush and doing some lopper work as needed.

I am happy to say that we did finish up that trail and also filled in a hoof sized hole that was pretty deep on the way out on the North Cemetery Trail (if I am remembering that correctly).

Many thanks to the following who gave up a Saturday morning to improve our trail system. Carolyn Weeks, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, Rita Ballou, Sheila Guimond, and Becky Kalagher.

All totaled we put in 14.15 hours worth $454.92


Dell Employees Volunteer at Upton State Forest July 26th

On Wednesday, June 26th, a group of 15 employees from the Dell (formerly EMC) Hopkinton office volunteered to help with some clean-up at Upton State Forest (USF).  Dell encourages its employees to volunteer quarterly in their communities to give back.  Thanks to Heather Lemire, a Bay State Trail Riders member, who thought that USF would be a great place for a group of employees to help out.

Bill Taylor, President of the Friends of Upton State Forest, started us off with a brief history of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and the development of the forest.  After the introduction, one group went out with Bill and Mary McManus and another with Suzanne Nicholas and Joyce Sandvik to tackle some trail clearing.  A third group stayed at the headquarters with Ellen Arnold to help with clean-up and plant flowers around the flag pole.

Thanks Heather for thinking of USF where volunteers are always welcome.  Thanks to all the Dell employees (Nicole Sweeney, Jon Siegal, Shannon Champion, David Giesecke, William Geller, Ben Jastrab, Jillian Kaplan, Karen Nunes, Cassie Mcnamara, Courtney Mcbrien, Allan Waters, Nick Petrillo, Jim Graves, David Glynn) who took time out of their day to help and Bill, Mary, Suzanne, Mary, Ellen and Joyce for leading the charge.  Trails are always in need of clearing, and sprucing up the headquarters provides a pleasant environment for our visitors.


Trail Work on Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) Aug. 22nd

After a particularly bad storm passed through the area, we had some trees down on the SNETT. Heading out with my chainsaw and our new FS240 Stihl Brush Cutter. 

Thanks to a generous donation from Constellation, an Exelon Company of $500, an additional donation of $100 from Koopman Lumber and BSTRA contributing $103.32 we were able to purchase this work horse of a machine for trail work.

Two hours and 15 minutes later, I had the top of a tree cleaned up and the gates on both sides of Yew Street brushed back. That trail work was worth $72.34


Trail Work Day Upton MA Oct. 5th

A trail work day was needed to clear some trails on town owned land in Upton. These trails were going to be used for the Lea MacInnis Judged Pleasure Ride and the Big Pumpkin Ride.

We had nine volunteers show up with loppers, battery operated hedge trimmers and a chain saw.

We broke out into a couple of groups and headed out to the spots that Mary had identified as needing work with overgrown brush or trees down across the trail.

Work started at 1pm and we were finished by 4pm with a big improvement to these trails.  We put in a total of 24 hours of work worth $771.60.

Our hard working volunteers were Joyce Sandvik, Becky Kalagher, Crysanda Boisvert, Jason O’Brien, Suzanne Nicholas, Mary McManus, Sue Quirk, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, and Bill Knott. When you see any of these people, make sure to thank them for their work!

Jason O’Brien is a neighbor of Crysanda’s that helps out at her place. This young man ended up with a bonus on this trail work day. He found a can that had been sitting on the side of the trail since June, put there by a boy scout troop.  In the can was a letter and $20! For him, trail work did pay off!


Trail Work Day Mendon MA Nov. 19th

We had one last little item to finish out before we could get our Certificate of Compliance from the Conservation Commission in Mendon. This was in regards to the East Trail improvements that we did.

The last site walk we had, the Div. of Fisheries & Wildlife requested that the bottom of the drainage swales, including the “exit” section be hardened with rocks.

I wanted to get this done before the permit expired in February. So, made a call to Kathy Rich to see if she could meet me and help get this last item done.

Nov. 19th, we met and hauled in some nice stones that I found at home. That wheel barrow did get a lot heavier by the time we made it to the work site.

Happy to say that we did get it done. I did take a bit longer than I expected. All totaled we put in 4.62 hours worth $148.53. I suppose you could count the value of the stones we brought in too!!

Good news is that I sent in pictures to the Conservation Commission and this item is on the agenda for Dec. 12th.

If all goes well and the Certificate of Compliance is issued, my last step is to get that recorded at the Registry of Deeds