Bit by bit, the Columbia Greenway Trail is coming together. This interstate rail trail runs from New Haven, Connecticut, north to Northampton, Massachusetts, along the defunct New Haven & Northampton Canal. Fragments of the trail have been completed over the last decade, but in the last few years the pace of development has really picked up. Just last year Southwick, MA opened its trail section, the Jog, connecting across the border to Farmington, CT’s Farmington River Trail for 30 miles of uninterrupted off-road trail. [Each section of the Columbia Greenway seems to have its own name!] The next trail town north of Southwick is Westfield, MA, and the Springfield Republican reports that Westfield plans to break ground this spring.
Mayor Daniel M. Knapik said Westfield is currently awaiting award of a state grant through the Department of Conservation and Recreation for the project.
“Our intent is to complete roughly one mile of the project this year and then proceed next year to bring the Greenway trail up to the area of the Great River Bridge,” Knapik said.
Westfield’s section of trail is exciting for many reasons. It’s a beautiful entirely elevated trail with nine bridges. Westfield has dining, shopping and lodging options, and a newly landscaped downtown. As the trail’s largest Massachusetts municipality south of Northampton, it is ideally suited to be a destination stop for cyclists from either direction seeking longer adventures.
Once again we ask, so what portions of the Columbia Greenway are left to develop? Well, between the Connecticut state line and Northampton, only Southampton remains. I’ll have something up in a few days to report on their progress.
In the meantime, I think it’s clear we can get excited about Westfield’s commitment to completing the Columbia Greenway rail trail, and what this means for cyclists in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut.