Trail advocate Don Burn brought his vision to a full house at the Attleboro Land Trust’s annual meeting on October 22. Burn was the driving force behind a network of trails in Westborough, Massachusetts, known as the “Charm Bracelet.” His words helped to energize a similar effort underway locally dubbed “Hike Attleboro.” The Attleboro Land Trust, Mass Audubon, and the City of Attleboro each own and manage conservation lands with walking trails in the city. Hike Attleboro will use a common logo and roadside signs to direct residents to these trails.
The Westborough Charm Bracelet was driven by Burn’s vision to “Connect with trails every public open space parcel and recreation area in Westborough to every neighborhood and to the adjoining towns.” This neatly coincides with a similar vision in Attleboro’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan of walkable neighborhoods with public parks within a 10-minute walk.
Burn touted the many benefits of walking trails, including research that indicates a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. He emphasized the importance of partnerships in attempting a project of the scale of the Charm Bracelet, which included participation by civic organizations, youth groups, businesses, landowners, developers, and many municipal boards and departments.
Hike Attleboro is now in the design stage. Volunteers with the following skills are needed: WordPress site development, computer graphics, GIS mapping, real estate, and civil engineering. Later stages will involve more on-site work involving evaluation of natural features and trail design. Contact us if you would like to get involved.