The Hopkinton Trails Club’s third annual Town Trails Forum, held on May 3, featured guest speakers, an update on the group’s activities and achievements, and a look at how the volunteer group will work and interact with the newly formed Trails Coordination and Management Committee created by the Select Board earlier this year.
The Trails Club, according to its website, is a volunteer group of area residents dedicated to enjoying and enhancing the existing trails in town while also promoting the creation of new trails and improving trail connections throughout the community. The group organizes monthly walks for the community, participates in trail maintenance activities and holds monthly meetings to discuss trail issues.
The club is co-chaired by Steve Frohbeiter and Peter LaGoy, who also serves as chair of the newly formed Trails Coordination and Management Committee. Lagoy explained to the forum attendees that the Trails Club had previously filled a void for the management and construction of trails in town, but he said that would change with the creation of the new committee.
“Hopefully the town can take over that process and let the Trails Club get back to being sort of a [public relations] arm to encourage people to get out on the trails and to help people get out on the trails,” he said.
Frohbieter agreed and said that the town is fortunate to have so many interested parties that come at trails from different angles. In addition to the new committee, he cited the Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) and the Hopkinton Area Land Trust (HALT).
“We’re all about making sure that we keep Hopkinton with its rural character intact and with open space so we can all go out and enjoy the woods and the fields,” he said.
LaGoy presented progress made by the Trails Club in 2018, which included participating in research related to the formation of the new management committee and creating parking for the trail on the Hughes Trail just off Chestnut Street. In 2019 the club hopes to move forward with the high school component of the cross country course created at the middle school in 2017.
The outside speakers for the event this year were Hopkinton Board of Health Director Shaun McAuliffe and Marjorie Turner Hollman, the author of “Easy Walks in Massachusetts,” a series of trail guides.
McAuliffe discussed his role to protect and promote health in the community with a presentation about ticks and tick-borne disease in Hopkinton. According to McAuliffe, the black-legged tick, or deer tick, is a leader source of illness in town. His talk included ways to manage this problem, including limiting exposure and tick checks. Hollman spoke about her writing and its connection to her love of easy walks as she identified what she thought were the easy walks in Hopkinton.