On behalf of the MassTrails Team, MassDOT has completed a feasibility study of the 68.5 mile mid-state section of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) between Belchertown and Berlin. The current ownership, condition, and existing use of the original railroad corridor along this Central MA stretch varies greatly. Some sections have been converted to a shared-use path; some sections are in public ownership with an intact railbed. Other sections are active railroads while still others are now in private ownership and the original railbed has been obliterated or converted to different uses.
The vision for the MCRT is to convert as much of the original 104-mile rail corridor as possible to an east-west, off-road, shared use path/greenway connecting Northampton to Boston. Mapping the entire corridor in the field utilized the latest in GPS technology coupled with data entry taking place on location via smart tablet. Field data was then combined with the latest statewide environmental and transportation layers through geoDOT resulting in a state-of-the art set of nearly 100 maps.