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Trail Committee Targets Encroachers

by Bobby Blair
April 2, 2018

Recent storms have left a deluge of fallen trees and branches on the rail trail. Two large trees land over the Phipps Hill Tunnel and another is about to break off onto the trail near Union Street. Trail members will seek the help of the town's highway department or a commercial outfit to tackle the problems. The issue of trail etiquette was once again the topic at Thursday night's meeting. Outlawed ATV's were spotted on the trail on Wednesday tearing up the trail itself. Complaints concerning dogs (a dog who killed a chicken along the trail), dog waste and fast cycling bikers have been received by both Chairman Robert Weidknecht and Friends Sec. Ed Daniels. Daniels noted that his group will have an app to lodge complaints so that complaints can be better resolved.

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All rail trail abutters will soon be receiving a letter in the mail advising them of any encroachments onto trail property from their own yards or businesses. Chairman Robert Weidknecht, above right, told his committee that he recently threw a used Christmas Tree back onto an abutters back yard. The committee has 44 current encroachments along the trail which has a width of 66'. While the committee will use a carrot and stick approach to begin with, town counsel is ready to proceed with stricter enforcement.

 

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Comments (6)

The Holliston Reporter is not really set up to have a useful dialog, but to answer some questions out there: David Wolfson, I am not a lawyer, but I believe that the owner of a tree is not responsible for damage caused by a branch from his tree that say, damages a home of the neighbor. There are Massachusetts laws regarding trees that are available on line. I did look at the branch last night and did not see any damage. It is a minor branch. I will cut it and remove it with your permission to enter your property. I cannot get out there until Thursday night or Saturday. Peter Simpson and Mark- most of the right of way is 66 feet wide. There is usually evidence of stone walls and/or wire fences and posts. There are sections of the right of way that are even wider (110 feet at Blair Square) and variable widths at Phipps Tunnel, all the way to the top of the hill. There are also sections that are narrower- Depot liquors and Casey's. Generally, the right of way is about 33 feet from the centerline of the stone dust trail, but not in all cases. Bikes- Use of multi-use trails requires learning and etiquette. People with dogs on leashes need to make sure that the leashes are short and they stay to one side. Everyone, adults and children need to be taught to stay to the right and not walk in packs taking up the full width of the trail. Bikers need to announce that they are passing and slow down to safe speeds when doing so. Most people using the relatively new trail are not experienced with rail trails. It takes time to learn etiquette.

- Robert Weidknecht | 4/4/18 12:17 PM

What if I have his trees and branches that have fallen over onto our property from the rail trail who's responsibility is that? I would assume will be the rail trails responsibility for any broken or damaged limbs the crossover to private property is this correct?

- David Wolfson | 4/3/18 12:04 PM

The horse "exhaust" seems to vanish fairly quickly. My favorite is the people who carefully bag their dog waste, then leave the bags by the side of the trail to "pick up later". How much later is an open question. Re: 66 ft -- that does seem like a wide swath. Wider than I would have thought, but you learn something new every day.

- Peter Simpson | 4/3/18 7:28 AM

I'm wondering if I'm understanding the trail width correctly, because 66' seems a lot wider than I would expect. So if the finished trail is say 10' wide, then the trail property extends 28' on either side of it?

- Mark | 4/2/18 8:40 PM

What about the people that ride horses and do not pick up the horse excrement? Worse than people that do not pick up after a dog.

- Bill Littlefield | 4/2/18 6:36 PM

What will be done about the cyclers??? they are so dangerous , never let you know they are coming and ride so fast that if a person was hit they would be hurt... I feel bad as I love taking my kids out there but I feel so unsafe with all the bikes, their non compliance to any rules what so ever. .what will be done????

- bikes | 4/2/18 11:21 AM

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