America’s Longest Walking Trail to Run through Milford This story was shared with The Bellingham Bulletin by the Milford, Upton & Mendon Free Press, a sister publication.
The entrance to the Upper Charles River Trail, beside Sacred Heart Church on East Main Street. Source: Google Maps
By Scott Calzolaio
America’s longest walking trail, spanning from Maine to Florida, will soon run right through Milford.
A 2.3 mile segment of the Upper Charles River Trail running from Holliston to Bellingham will soon don signage touting “The East Coast Greenway.”
The trail is partially on a former railroad corridor owned by the town, partially on-road, partially on New England Power Company property under a 99-year renewable lease agreement, and partially on two permanent easements, all according to a letter of endorsement from the Milford Select Board.
The East Coast Greenway hosted 50 million users in 2022 according to statistics on www.greenway.org. The route travels through 25 cities and 450 communities in total, making it the “most popular park in America.”
The organization touts that making the connection is good for local business, and useful for unconventional transportation.
In a presentation to the Milford Select Board on July 10, Chairperson of the Milford Upper Charles Trail Committee, Reno DeLuzio, discussed the success of the East Coast Greenway, and what it would mean to be a part of it.
“The cost of including the Milford Upper Charles River Trail into this Greenway,” DeLuzio said, “is to install and maintain signage onto the trail.”
The paved trail already exists and just needs some signage to be officially part of the Greenway.
There is one snag, noted DeLuzio.
The steep angle and crowded nature of Mount Pleasant Street makes the on-road part of the trail quite difficult.
“I came up with an alternate route,” he said. “You can turn the corner and head down Beach Street … up East Street, and East Street Extension to South Central.”
South Central Street would lead to Beaver Street, skirt the Hopedale Town Line, and into Grove Street to Bellingham. DeLuzio said he’s not sure if Bellingham plans to continue the route.
The East Coast Greenway is currently about 35% complete, with about 1,050 miles designated, and $200 million invested.
“It’s connecting people, and it’s designed to go where people live,” DeLuzio said. “It connects locals and visitors, and they walk, run, bike, and more.”