In 2004, due to the incredible efforts of dedicated residents of the Town of Tewksbury, a significant Act was passed by State Legislators and signed by Governor Mitt Romney, ‘Designating Certain Lands in The Town of Tewksbury for Conservation, Agriculture, and Passive Public Recreational Purposes’ that included 9 parcels and a total of 410 acres. This Act further indicated that the specific parcels were ‘hereby dedicated to the public for the purposes and uses of forest, agriculture, and open space protection, management and conservation, environmental education and public access for passive recreation and enjoyment and shall be held solely for these purposes and uses.’ This was a significant accomplishment to the Town of Tewksbury for many reasons with one of which being that it provided a large track of contiguous open space land along the proposed Bay Circuit Trail route in Tewksbury.
The Bay Circuit Trail was first envisioned in 1929 as a proposed linkage of open space land spanning 50 towns from Plum Island to Kingston Bay. By linking these open spaces together, the vision was to create what would appear like an ‘emerald necklace’ off the coast of Massachusetts. In 1990, The Bay Circuit Trail Alliance was founded to make the Bay Circuit Trail dream a reality. Since that time, the Bay Circuit Alliance has dedicated the more than 230 miles of trails in existence today along this outer emerald necklace (see attached Bay Circuit Trail Map). By looking at the map, you will see that the entire span of the Bay Circuit Trail vision is almost complete with the exception of a few segments. Tewksbury is one of those segments.
In hopes of completing this missing segment of the Bay Circuit Trail, Al French from the Bay Circuit Trail Alliance met with the Tewksbury State Hospital in 2007 to obtain permission to officially construct the proposed Bay Circuit Trail on this newly conserved State Hospital land. As a result of his efforts, the Bay Circuit Trail Alliance entered into agreement with the State Hospital in the attached ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ that set specific terms for trail establishment as well as trail usage. In 2016, almost a decade after Al French reached this critical agreement, Tewksbury volunteers worked together to complete a new boardwalk that brought the completion of the Bay Circuit Trail in Tewksbury one step closer to coming to fruition.
Soon after the completion of this boardwalk, volunteers and Town staff were eager to promote the new gem of open space land ready for all Town residents to enjoy. As a result of this, Tewksbury Town staff and member of the Open Space Committee, Bruce Shick, met with the State Hospital to revise the existing Memorandum of Understanding to include allowing for kiosks, trail markers, directional arrows, and designated parking areas (memo attached). Since that time, volunteers have been working hard to incorporate these improvements into the trail system to make it more accessible for all Tewksbury residents.
In addition, several side loops have been created off of the main trail by the efforts of volunteers including one off of Pinnacle St as well the ‘The Pines’ Cemetery trail loop both of which are shown on the attached map.