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Friends Gather for Happy (and Clean) Trails

Milford Cub Scout Pack 32 was on-hand for clean-up duty.



Though the thousands who utilize the Upper Charles Trail are usually pretty respectful, there was still work to be done. Armed with rakes, water bottles, trash bags and gloves, approximately 25 volunteers gathered at Fino Field, on Saturday, April 21 for a very important assignment - to help keep the popular biking and walking trail in pristine condition.

The cleanup organized by the Friends of the Upper Charles Trail, attracted Cub Scouts, Masons and other ecologically concerned Milfordians - all eager to receive their assignments from Friends' President, Pat Rosenthal.

"The trail has doubled in size, so we have a big task ahead of us," estimated Nancy Wojick, one of the organization's directors. "People respect it, but, as you can see, there are (plastic) bags, and trash and things that tend to accumulate." Despite the ground to be covered, Wojick was confident the cleanup, which began at 9 a.m., would be completed by noon.

Supported with membership fees and sponsorships, the Friends of the Upper Charles Trail have been in existence since the trail's opening in 2004. "We work under the Parks Department," explained Wojick, "the town owns the trail and we're just a support group." Currently, the Friends have roughly 75 members, both individuals and organizations.

Among the organizations is the Montgomery Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Milford, who "have been participating in assisting with the trail cleanup since the trail opened, several years ago," said Mason, Terry Volpicelli. "We've adopted a stretch of the trail that's immediately behind the Milford Water Company (and) have also purchased one of the granite benches (placed along the trail)."

Groups adopting a section of the trail are asked to do so for at least a year and to designate five to six people dedicated to regularly policing their section and removing trash. They may also take on beautification projects such as planting flowers or bushes. "If (adoptive groups) want to plan (enhancements), we just ask that they coordinate with the Friends group, so that we can, in turn, work with the Parks Department (to) make sure that everybody's in-sync," Rosenthal said.

Other organizations that have adopted trail sections are the Italian-American War Veterans and Hockomock YMCA.

In tandem with the Friends' efforts was the Charles River Watershed cleanup focusing primarily on the watered areas along the trail. Among the volunteers helping with that effort were about 40 members of Milford Cub Scout Pack 32. "This is the first year that we've done this particular cleanup. We participated in the Milford Family Fair this year and we heard about the trail cleanup and thought that this would be a great way to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) and do a nice community service project. We're very excited about it," said Pack spokesperson Amy Boone, who noted all the dens from Tiger Cubs to Webelos were represented.

Another important project on the Friends' calendar is the May 19 Trail Count. "We'll count how many and what types of people are walking the trail," explained group Vice-President, Dave Cassinelli. "That has been very helpful when we've gone to town meetings and the Trail Committee has asked for monies (and) for Federal dollars."

"We're in desperate need of volunteers," Rosenthal declared. She said the count takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with volunteers asked to "commit to a two-hour time stint. It's really easy work. It's easy for kids, easy for seniors, easy for anyone. It's not labor intensive, whatsoever. It's just sitting and enjoying the day." More information on the Friends of the Upper Charles Trail is available at www.milfordtrail.org.








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