Gloria Braunhardt Bike/Pedestrian Trail
Distance: 6,336 feet (1.2 miles) (1.92 km)
Environmental Conditions along the Trail: Coming from the ‘Plains’ plateau, descending down to a roadbed which extends initially through forest and meadow and continues at its south end on a high bank with wetlands on either side. On the other side is a path with wetlands to the left side and a steep bank caused by the Hale Street roadbed.
Trail Conditions: Starts with a curb cut at Storey Avenue, parking for 3 to 5 cars. A stone path travels down to a macadam roadbed. It continues for 1.1 miles until it reaches another stone path with a gentle .5 grade southern terminal to Hale Street where parking for 5-6 cars is available.
What would you say if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts came up to the City and said, “We’re going to give you a multi-million dollar piece of land for free”? You’d probably say, “What a great deal for the city!” Well the Commonwealth did give us something free. A perfectly paved roadbed that stretches a little over a mile built for heavy trucks so its very design is one of quality and durability. The only condition, if they should ever need it again, they can take it back. The other condition, the area must be perpetually left in open space, no buildings.
So what do you have? A bike trail that is built to last forever that stretches from Storey Avenue all the way to Hale Street. Not only is that, the millions of dollars that were spent already intrinsically built into the roadbed. No new taxes! No paving is necessary, no clearing is necessary and it must be used for passive recreation.
It’s a wonderful shortcut from the Turkey Hill and Quail Run neighborhoods and is easily available to the Oleo Woods, Russell Terrace and Woodman Way residences. Pedaling along with nature so very close, it is also an extremely pleasant way to be close to nature from the comfort of a smooth road. It is one of the most effective single ways for the handicapped to commune with nature on a safe level surface. Try that in Maudslay State Park!
Millions of our tax dollars were spent on the Clipper City Rail Trail. In contrast, millions of dollars have already been spent on the Gloria Braunhardt Bike Trail and no one’s wallet has been affected!
Plus, you are able to commune with nature as you ride your bike or stroll along.
Gloria Braunhardt along with Al Decie, jr. was largely responsible for taking leadership to spearhead the preservation of state-owned Route 95 property that was given over to the city in the late 1990’s. Their citizen advocate group, Citizens for Environmental Balance went on to aide in protecting the Common Pasture, a large area mostly located within city limits; and worked successfully to convince the voters in 2002 to enact the Community Preservation Act in Newburyport. In honor of her drive to protect this environmentally sensitive area, the bike trail was named after her.