2023 In Review

We held:

17 rides with a total of 626 riders attending.

2 Campouts

13 Trail workdays

Celebrated our 50th anniversary. Received commendations from the Senate and House of Representatives.

Donated $500 to Mass Parks For All, $173 Friends of Upton State Forest, $1,200 Wyndham Land Trust

Received grants from Athletic Brewing Company, Constellation and Whole Foods for a total of $12,442.

Our Fundraising efforts for trail work in 2023 netted $23,891

Public and written input submitted for the Ware River Watershed Public Access Plan to advocate for horseback riding trails.

Public and written input submitted to DEM in RI concerning the Legrand Horsemen’s Area to keep that as a horseback only camping area.

Partnered with Mass Parks for All to help them fight for increased funding and resources for all Mass State Forest and Parks.

Letters of support for grant applications that helped Wyndham Land Trust receive $24,000 for planning, design, construction, and outreach to establish trail parking at Bull Hill Preserve in Thompson CT. Parking will include room for a couple of truck/horse trailers.

Feedback given on DCR Stewardship Council Finance Committee listening session that wanted input from users of the state forests and parks on what they would like to see budget money go towards for improvements. Our input was monies to go towards on the ground staffing, land acquisition (with protecting trail connections between protected parcels) and having a dedicated trail maintenance crew in each region.

Air Line Trail (4.3-mile section) reconstruction & accessibility improvements public hearing (CT). Input given and submitted written information on how bollard spacing, and height will affect horses being able to safely pass between them.

Trails were improved in the following towns by our volunteers: Douglas, Grafton, Hubbardston, Mendon, Oxford, Thompson (CT), Upton, Uxbridge, and Winchendon/Royalston.


Total put into Trails for 2023

Cash: $10,208

Donated labor/machine work & materials: $1,268

Volunteer hours: 480.13 hours’ worth $18,816

Grand total $30,292


April 8, 2023 LeGrand Reynolds Horseman’s Area

Great volunteer effort from at least a dozen friends stopping in for an informal clean up on April 8th at LeGrand Reynolds horseman’s area. Bay State Trail Riders Association, Moswansicut Riding & Driving Club, L&G (Ladies & Gents), and Cross State Trail Ride Inc. were represented. We moved a lot of fallen limbs, lopped and hand sawed away at hanging trees and larger trees that were hard to move. The place already looks much improved! Well pump was totally tangled before we cleared it. Thanks to Jane Williams Rutledge, Joan Park-Ryan, Irene & Chris Watson, Becky Kalagher, Ed Nobrega, Jessica Giroux Morse and kids. Diane Sullivan Gryncewicz on a job well done.

April 22, 2023 Park Serve Day Douglas State Forest

BSTRA held a trail workday on DCR’s Douglas State Forest trails. We tackled “Chicken Wing” Trail that needed brushing back and some tree trimming. That trail is .3 of a mile long.

We had 16 people joining together to improve this trail and a cool cloudy day, the absolute best for working! We had Becky running the brush cutter and Cheryl running the battery-operated hedge trimmers, both very effective in cutting back the brush.

The rest of the crew was armed with hand saws, pruners, long handled loppers, and a pole saw to target the rest of the trail work. We put in a total of 46.42 hours. Using the Independent Sector value rate for volunteer work in MA ($39.19) our volunteer work has a value of $1,819.20 and lunch was $160.97.

Thank you Angie for your great idea when ordering lunch, have them put that person’s name on the order and thank you Valerie for chauffeuring my tired butt to pick up lunch!

A huge shout out to the following that made a positive impact on our trail system: Darlene Falcone, Chris DiMasi, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, Angie & Bill Knott, Becky Kalagher, Neil & Shirley Standring, Sue Perkins, Jessica & Janet Wornham, Sue Sanders, Valerie Clark, Barbara McCumber, Kelly Berthiaume, and Diane Sullivan

April 30, 2023 Park Serve Day Upton State Forest

How many people like to do trail work on a wet misty morning? Apparently 23.

Our annual Park Serve Day at Upton State Forest with the Friends of the Upton State Forest was rescheduled from the 23rd because of rain. We opted for a later start time of 10am to miss some morning showers.

We broke into two crews. One crew stayed at the headquarters building to rake and clean up the grounds. My crew headed to bridge #2 , the 23’ rebuilt bridge last fall.

Our goal was to install the geo-textile material, install the curb railing and spread the pea stone. Ray Longvall (new supervisor for Upton State Forest) brought the lumber for the curb railings, wheelbarrow, and battery operated skill saw.

Once we got the material laid out and secured, Bill Knot and Ray set to work on installing the curb railings. While they were doing that Denise Leonard & Deb Deschenes headed one way on the trail to do some trimming and Valeri Clark and myself headed the other way.

Curb railings are all done. Time to spread the pea stone. That didn’t take long, raked it out and took the “job well done” pictures.

Once we were all packed up we headed back to headquarter for lunch. Many thanks for the Friends of Upton State Forest for providing lunch and drinks. We also had a special cake commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Many thanks to all the volunteers. We had a mix of Friends of the Upton State Forest members, BSTRA members, and Upton Hoof Beats 4-H members.

These fine volunteers are Bill & Angie Knott, Russ Arnold, Becky Kalagher, Joyce Sandvik, Suzanne Nicholas, Bill Taylor, Deb Deschenes, Valerie Clark, Susan Barrows, Sara & Justin & Elizabeth & Julia Roussy, Ellen Arnold, Julie & Dylan & Ayla McCoskery, Karla & Suzie Barrows, Christina & Aeva Snyder, and Denise Leonard. All totaled we put in 46 hours. Using the Independent Sector value rate for volunteer work in MA ($39.19) our volunteer work has a value of  $1,802.74

Thanks to Ray Longvall and Leah for joining us today.

May 6, 2023 Trail Work Day Hodges Village Dam Oxford MA

How cool is it to exceed your plans? Pretty cool indeed. That is what happened at Hodges Village Dam for our trail work day. The original plan was to break out into two groups and tackle two sections at the end of Rocky Hill Road.

One group tackled the trails parallel to the dike called Easier Way Up the Hill and Kestrel Hill. Not only did they get that done, they also did the East Side-South as they headed back to our starting point doing a total of .8 of a mile of trail work.

Second group tackled an un-named trail, the first right after the end of Rocky Hill Road that went up the pipeline and came out onto Trail #1. We hooked a right on Trail #1 and worked on that until we got to the Midstate Trail/East Side -North down to the Midstate Trail HDV link back to where we started. That group also did .8 of a mile of trail work.

Not a bad mornings work for 18 people. We easily did twice as much as what we had planned on! A huge thanks to the following: Gloria Duhaime, Cheryl Fitzpatrick, Angie & Bill Knott, Becky Kalagher, Neil & Shirley Standring, Jane & Phil Rutledge, Ed Nobrega, Celeste Nobrega, Jesse Samdahl, Barbara McCumber, Melissa Beagle, Kirsten Hodges, Kerry & Teagan Manchester, and Deb Deschenes. All totaled we put in 57 hours worth $2,233.83 plus lunch at $227.92.  These are our trail hero’s – thank them when you see them.

July 29, 2023 Grafton Land Trust Work Party

JOIN THE CREW THIS SATURDAY July 29, 2023 at 10:00 am at the end of Salisbury St off of Keith Hill Rd. Ben Neely will be leading us back to the blocked stream so we can clean it, restore the flow, and that will reduce the mud zone back there. If we get 10 people or so, we will be done in an hour. Bring your muddy gear (boots, gloves, etc) and if you have a pulp hook or other log handling equipment it could come in handy. This will give the Conservation Commission a first-hand view of this town-owned property and is a first step in getting an improvement on the site, such as a bridge or other concepts.

Our crew was smaller than 10, but we got the job done in an hour plus on the way out we opened up another small stream that was backed up on the trail creating a huge puddle.

Blackstone Valley NEMBA: Biagio Cautill, Michael Tonry, and Laura Zimmer. Grafton Land Trust: Ben Neely & Rob Aberg. BSTRA: Becky Kalagher (had to make sure the horse people were represented as horseback riding is allowed on GLT properties.)

I am happy to say that we got the logs and stones pulled out, cleared out the outlet end of where the water was going to get it back on it’s correct path. It is going to take a bit for the mud around the area to “drain” and dry out. All totaled 9.48 hours put in today valued at $371.52

Now the GLT members will have to get the Conservation Commission out there to move on to the next step of a permanent solution so this doesn’t happen again.

Aug. 6, 2023 Lake Dennison Trail Work

I met up with Peggy Rotti and two of her friends to check out the trails and to make sure all the markers were up.

Things were looking good until we got to the loop off of Wetmore Trail called Rockets Ext. on one map. We started running into smallish stuff we could handle with our hand saws. Peggy and I did the work while her two friends held the horses.

We got .6 of a mile in, working as we went. We ran into 3 downed trees that we “left” for park personnel to take care of because they were beyond the scope of our tools.

We made it around those three downed trees and then ran into the proverbial wall. Huge dead hemlock across the trail and so much other stuff behind it and there was no way around that mess. We had to turn back.

In about 1.5 hours we did get a half mile cleaned up.

Aug. 12, 2023 Install straw wattles on BSTRA property

Our goal for the morning was to get the straw wattles installed. They are a bit awkward to move, not really heavy, but each bundle was a 25’ of rolled up straw stocking.

We started at 9 and finished by 11:30. We installed the straw wattles at both stream crossings, cleared up downed trees on the trail and then purposely dropped some trees to block an illegal motorized dirt bike that has been coming from town property, cutting through our property and onto the SNETT.

All totaled we put in 12.5 hours worth $489.88

Nov. 4, 2023 Red Pine Trail Douglas State Forest

Mark Manoogian of CJM Construction showed up at Wallis St. parking lot with his excavator to set the granite pieces that the bridge would be resting on. Many thanks to DCR Douglas State Forest for letting us use these from their stock pile and bringing them over to Wallis St. parking lot.

Becky Kalagher and Phil Rutledge helped Mark set them in place. Mark donated his machine/labor time for this job valued at $800. Becky & Phil put in a total of 3.5 hours worth $137.17.

Nov. 11, 2023 Red Pine Trail Douglas State Forest

This work day entailed adding fill and rocks around the granite pieces. Phil Rutledge used his dump trailer to get a couple buckets of gravel stored at DCR Douglas State Forest. They were kind enough to load the dump trailer.

Rita Ballou drove her tractor over to move the gravel and some rocks. Some of the gravel was moved by buckets and a cart pulled by human power thanks to Sue & Steve Sanders. To round out the rest of our work crew hauling rocks and spreading gravel was Jane Rutledge, Deb Carlson, Becky Kalagher, and Joanne Podles. All totaled we put in 14.5 hours worth $568.26.

Dec. 8, 2023 Red Pine Trail Douglas State Forest

Bob Hatch and Stephanie Frend delivered the bridge. Becky Kalagher drove her tractor from home to get the 6’ x 12’ bridge to the site. Our work crew installation, rock/gravel fill on one side for a ramp were Neil & Shirley Standring, Gloria Duhaime, Ann Marie Allaire, Phil Rutledge, Deb Carlson, and Rose Zariczny. All totaled we put in 50 hours worth $1,959.50.

Dec. 9, 2023 Red Pine Trail Douglas State Forest

Bob Hatch and Stephanie Frend showed up with some younger reinforcements Gemma Mullins and Sophia Hakkila. We finished anchoring the bridge to the granite, installed the geo-textile material, curb rails and finally the pea stone on top. While people were working on the bridge we had others setting stones on the sides approaching the bridge and filling in the path with gravel to create ramps up to the bridge. All totaled we put in 36.17 hours worth $1,417.50.

Dec. 26, 2023 Red Pine Trail Douglas State Forest Finished!

Phil Rutledge, Sue Sanders and Becky Kalagher filled 26 buckets with gravel and brought them over to Wallis St. parking lot. Sue brought along the handy cart (much easier than a wheelbarrow!) to haul the buckets down to the bridge. We had to finish the ramp on the other side of the bridge again using stones to keep the gravel in place on the sides and filling it up to bridge level with the gravel. Once we were done that we also cleared up a downed tree (Phil was ambitious!) Total hours to finally finish is 5.25 worth $205.75.