Essex Heritage, in partnership with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC), provided leadership to an early stage strategic planning initiative focused on developing the Merrimack River Trail, a long envisioned 50-mile multimodal recreational trail along the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. The study project engaged trail advocates and municipal officials in the 17 Massachusetts communities that border the Merrimack River. A reconnaissance level planning report was completed in December 2011 with the support of a Recreational Trails Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
With the goal of promoting increased use of the Merrimack River Trail, the project partners seek to build upon prior efforts by adding and improving connections between existing sections of the 20 year-old trail. Tracing the river’s route, the trail will ultimately connect six cities and eleven towns from Tyngsborough to Newbury, effectively creating the backbone of a continuous, non-motorized, on- and off-road trail system.
Merrimack River Trail communities include: Tyngsborough, Dracut, Chelmsford, Lowell, Tewksbury, Andover, Methuen, Lawrence, North Andover, Haverhill, Groveland, Merrimac, West Newbury, Amesbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, and Newbury.