What is Wachusett Greenways?
Connections! Wachusett Greenways helps connect people to the outdoors and to each other by building and helping to maintain trails including the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) and by leading free trail events year round. Members, volunteers, the Wachusett communities and the Commonwealth, in particular the Department of Conservation and Recreation, are vital partners.
PO Box 121
Holden, MA 01520
What is the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT)?
Once a 104-mile railroad connecting Northampton and Boston, the right-of-way is now being restored as the multi-use Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT). Wachusett Greenways and our partners are building the central 30-mile section of the MCRT through the towns of Sterling, West Boylston, Holden, Rutland, Oakham and Barre. We have completed more than 17 miles of our section. The first one-mile section was completed in 1997 in West Boylston. To date we have installed 10 bridges and two tunnels or underpasses. The tenth bridge—98 feet long and completed in 2013—spans the Ware River in Barre.
Who are the partners building the MCRT in central Mass.?
Wachusett Greenways, towns in the Wachusett region, state agencies, foundations, businesses and other groups are all integral partners in building and maintaining the MCRT. Together these groups have already contributed well over half the $3+ million required to build 30 miles of the MCRT. The MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Wachusett towns play a vital role in developing the trail; Wachusett Greenways is the project coordinator. Contributions from Greenways friends and members have ranged from $5 to $160,000. Local foundations have stepped up to contribute to the rail trail construction, thereby benefiting the greater Worcester community and all of Central Mass.
How is the Wachusett Greenways section of the trail constructed?
The trail is constructed with a paved stone dust surface, which is ideal for bicycling, walking, jogging, strollers, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and wheelchairs.
Who cares about this trail?
- People of all ages who enjoy the trail each day.
- Young people earning their Eagle Boy Scout and Gold Girl Scout awards, and other girl and boy scout troops who helped clear trail and landscape the trail entrance.
- School groups, such as the Bancroft School and WPI Alpha Phi Omega, who serve and learn environmental stewardship.
- Worcester East Middle School LET’S GO Program for biking and hiking.
- Track teams from area high schools and colleges.
- Regional groups, including Seven Hills Wheelmen and Central Mass Striders.
- Members and donors who contribute funds and countless volunteer hours for the trail.
Where is the Mass Central Rail Trail complete now?
More than 17 miles are open:
- Sterling, from Sterling center at the Cider Mill to Gates Road—1.7 miles
- West Boylston/Holden, from Oakdale to River Street along the Quinapoxet River—3 miles
- Holden Connector, from River Street to Manning Street to Mill Street—2.2 miles off the rail bed and over two hills
- Rutland, from Wachusett Street south to the Holden line—1.2 miles
- Rutland, from Glenwood Road to Miles Road—1.7 miles
- Rutland, from Miles Road to the Muddy Pond outlet at Route 122—4.1 miles
- Oakham, from Muddy Pond outlet to Route 122 crossing to Coldbrook Road to the Barre Line—2 miles
- Barre, from the Oakham line to the Ware River crossing and on to the Route 122 Mass Highway rest stop—1 mile
Wachusett Greenways volunteers are needed to help maintain the rail trail from Sterling to Barre and the White Oak Trail, which Wachusett Greenways built in Holden adjacent to Trout Brook Reservation. Volunteers are welcome to help in many other ways for trail construction, events, fundraising, communications, hospitality and more! Contact us for more information.
Where are dogs allowed on the Mass Central Rail Trail and other Trails and Parks in the Wachusett region?
Along the Mass Central Rail Trail, the land owners determine whether dogs are allowed. Some rail trail sections are open for dogs, provided users keep their pet leashed and remove any waste. Dogs must be leashed to prevent accidents on the trail and to protect all trail users.
- Dogs are permitted on the West Boylston section of the MCRT from the Route 140/Thomas Street trailhead to the I-190 overpass. This land is owned by the Town of West Boylston.
- Dogs are not permitted on the rail trail sections between Sterling center and Glenwood Road in Rutland. This land is by the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation lands (DCR). In the Wachusett Watershed dogs are not permitted on DCR lands due to concerns about contamination of drinking water from diseases found in pet waste.
- Dogs are permitted in the Ware Watershed (west of Glenwood Road, Rutland) on DCR lands, including the MCRT.
Other nearby outdoor spaces that allow dogs include Trout Brook Reservation and the White Oak Trail in Holden. State Parks, including Rutland State Park and Leominster State Park, allow dogs. Lands under the stewardship of the Trustees of Reservations (www.ttor.org) in the central region are also dog-friendly. Dogs need to be leashed or under the control of the owner. Several towns, including West Boylston, Holden and Rutland, also have leash laws, which require dogs to be leashed within the town.