Renovation, rededication of rail trail in Mason

  •  Mason Conservation Commission Chair Bob Dillberger thanked Ann Preston for a grant from the Preston Family Trust which was used this year to restore the Mason Rail Trail during a re-dedication ceremony on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Mason Conservation Commission Chair Bob Dillberger and member Barbara DeVore thanked Ann Preston, center, for a grant from the Preston Family Trust which was used this year to restore the Mason Rail Trail during a re-dedication ceremony on Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/19/2018 2:34:12 PM

On Saturday, the Mason Conservation Commission re-dedicated the Mason Rail Trail, after an extensive renovation of the trail this year. 

The work was done with assistance from a $40,000 grant from the Preston Family Trust.

“Last year, Ann [Preston] approached the Conservation Commission with an incredible gift to restore the rail trail,” Conservation Commission Barbara Devore said during the trail’s re-dedication. “It was a very lucky time, because the day after that, we got a call to say there was major damage to the bridge over Black Brook due to a storm. I don’t know what we would have done without that gift.”

The railroad was built in the 1850s, including a 6.7 mile stretch in Mason from the Massachusetts border to the Wilton town line. When it was originally built, the railroad had a whistle stop in Mason, but today, that depot is located in downtown Greenville, which was once part of the Mason village. 

Selectman Charlie Moser spoke during the dedication of the history of the trail. The $35,000 that the town of Mason paid into the construction of the railroad was a total bust for those looking to profit off of the train – which never made any money, Moser said – but eventually paid its dividends to Mason residents today, who enjoy the rail trail for hiking, biking, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

The town of Mason acquired the Rail Trail in 1985, for a total of $33,000, half of which was raised at Town Meeting and half of which came from a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Since its acquisition, there has never been such a serious overhaul of the trail as was done in 2017 and 2018, with funds granted from the Preston Family Trust. With the grant, the Conservation Commission was able to repair the abutments and mounting wear strips on Russell Road bridge, do work to control invasive plants, ditching, brush trimming and compacting crushed stone and grading.

During Saturday’s re-dedication, the Conservation Commission thanked Ann Preston for her gift, unveiling a plaque at the trailhead thanking the Preston Family Trust for the work that had been able to be completed with the funds.

“I just can’t tell you how happy I am,” Preston, a former resident of Mason now living in Peterborough said. “We enjoyed the Rail Trail when we lived here in Mason. The main reason we’re here is to enjoy the woods and out-of-doors. We’re so fortunate to have this amazing spot.”

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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