FAQs about this conference
What is this all about?
This is a conference about the Mass Central Rail Trail--the longest developing rail trail in New England. This conference is our 9th Golden Spike Event. Generally not held every year. Not even every other year. However, this is our first consecutive or back to back, event. Last years’ GS2022 should have been in 2021, but Covid backed us up a year.
Starting next year, MassTrails will be doing their state-wide conference on even numbered years. We will be doing the odd numbered years. This year, 2023, we are in Natick and we’ll have plenty of outdoor tours to choose from. We know that Natick is not on the main MCRT route, but it will connect when things are done. There are actually 18 other trails that will intersect with the main MCRT route.
I've been hearing about a REPORT. What is "THE REPORT?"
This is a report that answers the never before asked question about a rail trail in New England: "What would a 100+ mile long trail mean to the Commonwealth and the communities along the way?" The consultant, Kittelson & Associates and their team will be at GS2023 to talk about their findings. Here’s a LINK to The REPORT. Here's a link to a one-page Executive Summary. And here's a link to the Request for Proposals that dared to ask that never asked question, that we've now answered.
Where did the idea of a 100+ mile long trail start?
The phrase ‘Mass Central Rail Trail’ first appeared in 1999, in an official state planning document about trails and greenways called: Commonwealth Connections. Though that was the first instance of MCRT being used was in a formal way, here are plenty of examples of early thinking that this thing might be able to be reassembled. Go to this two-pager infographic that has a good chronological layout of how this happened. LINK HERE.
Where did the name "Golden Spike" come from?
It comes from an odd coincidence. On May 10, 1869, there were two notable RR related events. The well-known Golden Spike Ceremony, which was held at Promontory Summit, UT where the Trans-continental Railroad was finally opened. And also on that same day, the Massachusetts legislature chartered the Massachusetts Central Railroad. We decided to brand our awards with this name that calls out this iconic 19th century event. How fitting for our iconic 21st century project.
One of the highlights of each of the conferences since 2014 is the awarding of Golden Spike plaques to people who have done inspirational work to get trails in their communities built. They generally don't get built without robust local support. Sometimes their work isn't well know locally never mind around the state. Each of our GS events will have plaques to recognize their efforts.
Two of our bike tours start several miles (15 minutes + -) from AMVETS in Natick. Tour 1 and Tour 3. You will either have to bike to the start point or transport your bike to the start point.
One of our Biking tours also has a WALKING component. Tour 3 starts in Wayland at the restored former RR station and 1/2 the tour--25 people max-- will ride east to Weston. While the other 1/2 --25 people max-- will do a walking tour of the Wayland RR station area. Then the first bike tour will return to the station and then THEY will take the walking tour while the other group will begin their bike component. Here's links to both sections.
***Though we will have a bus to bring people to the various start points for our walking tours. We will NOT have that transit capability to bring people with their bikes to the start point for Tours 1 & 3.