Volunteers work to clear out Reformatory Branch Trail

By Richard Fahlander - Correspondent
January 19, 2023

The future of the Reformatory Branch Trail was a topic of some controversy at last spring’s Town Meeting. A proposal to study improvements to the trail, an abandoned railroad bed that runs from Lowell Road past Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge to the Bedford town line, was rejected by voters.

In December, putting aside their differences of opinion, a group of volunteers from both sides of the issue came together last month to care for the trail.

For two-and-a-half hours volunteers cleared drains and leaves from the most flood-prone stretch of the trail near Butternut Circle. With the use of the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge equipment, they were able to drag the leaves clear of the drainage ditches. A number of invasive species were also removed.

“For me, the most rewarding part was how a group of people from both Concord and Bedford, who had passionately opposing views on what to do with the trail, came together to support this valuable resource,” said trail steward Bill Robichaud, who supported the improvement study as a way to ensure access for all users.

Ellen Quackenbush opposed the comprehensive study out of concern that it would change the character of the trail. She joined Bill on the work party, “It was a pleasure to help maintain this lovely trail. I loved that several groups—photographers, dog walkers, nature lovers and one bicyclist—were enjoying the trail as we cleared the drainage areas. Reformatory Branch Trail is a Concord gem.”

In addition to Bill and Ellen other clean-up volunteers were Isabel Bailey, Alan Bragg, Mark Gailus, Bill Herring, Wayne Lobb, Charlie Moore, Ned Perry, Phil Posner, and Frank Richichi.