Detailed Proposal for the REI "Conservation and Recreation Grant"
Bike to the Sea Inc., June 2005
The Bike to the Sea Inc. has worked as the primary advocacy organization that has promoted and
participated in the development of The Northern Strand Community Trail. For twelve years,
volunteers have participated in local bike fairs, sponsored yearly rides that follow the nine-mile
trail bed to its endpoint near Lynn, and tirelessly lobbied the state government to recycle this
rail-bed into a public recreation area.
In 2005 the funding for the design of the first three miles of the Everett section and the final
distance in Lynn was secured. It is to these towns that The Bike to the Sea Inc. wants to draw
the public's attention. These sections of the trail, the most likely to first to reach the construction
phase , traverse neighborhoods that may not be fully aware of the planning taking place, but
certainly would be impacted by the presence of trash, undergrowth, and dangerous conditions.
Therefore, a community outreach project consisting of a light trail clean up could address both
the need of The Bike to the Sea Inc. to receive greater exposure for their advocacy work, and
such a project would benefit local property owners whose land adjoins the trail bed. Both
outcomes would result in a shorter time horizon for the completion of the rail-trail.
• Two events have been scheduled for October of 2005, and May 2006. These events will
entail meeting volunteers at the trail access site. At this location, members of The Bike to the
Sea Inc. organization will staff an information table. After registration, trail workers will
then receive special-event t-shirts, trash bags, gloves, and any needed tools and proceed
down the trail. Along the way, trash will be picked up and placed in bags that will then be
collected; a local public works department will remove the collected trash and debris. After
completion participants will have the opportunity to have refreshments, and participate in a
raffle that would result in the giving away of several outdoor recreation related gifts. The
event would last approximately five hours. It would be repeated at a different time of year
and a location, highlighting a different segment of the trail.
• The participants of these events would be the membership of The Bike to the Sea Inc.,
advocates of rail-trail projects, local families, and local property owners. Beneficiaries of
these events would be the participants who would get outdoors for an afternoon; The Bike to
the Sea Inc. would receive favorable press, attract new members, and have opportunities to
explain what the Northern Strand Community Trail project can do for the communities that it
reaches; for local property owners, a cleared rail-bed would be less offensive, and could
reduce the likelihood of criminal misuse.
• The grant money required for this project will go toward the publicizing of the events
through a mailing and the purchase or rental of equipment needed to clear/clean-up two miles
of trail. Incentives in the way of t-shirts and raffle prizes will be further inducements for
many participants, especially teens.
1. Each Trail Awareness Day will invite a group of as many as 40 individuals to the site of a
section of the Northern Strand Community Trail. At this meeting-point, information will be
available about the project as well as membership applications and brochures, and similar
advocacy group's information. REI could provide literature about its trainings and
2. Participants will clear a section of trail-bed of trash and debris. Debris will be collected in
bags, and will be disposed of properly.
3. Participants will receive prizes and incentives for trail work. (Provided by REI)
4. Photo and press releases will be published in The Bike to the Sea Inc. newsletter, website, and
local news outlets.
1. The collection of significant amounts of trash and organic debris over four miles of rail-bed.
2. The enjoyment of participants in trail maintenance, exercise, and participation in an
environmental awareness project.
3. The increased membership dues of new members to The Bike to the Sea Inc.
4. A message to state and local government officials that the public wants to see the Northern
Strand Community Trail become a reality.
5. An event that brings together members of The Bike to the Sea Inc. and non-members to share
their interest in new recreational opportunities north of Boston.
Statement of Need:
• Rail-trails or greenways offer local communities new recreational opportunities and
commuting options. A nearby trail, the Minuteman Bikeway in the Metro-West section of
Boston has proven a success in the number of users it attracts for recreational and commuting
purposes. However, the western suburbs of Boston have considerably lower population
densities than the northern towns. Two of the towns the Minuteman Bikeway traverse have
an average density of 5000 people per square mile, whereas the average density of the five
towns closest to the start of the Northern Strand Community Trail is 9000 people per square
mile. This difference shows people in the northern suburbs live in a significantly more urban
environment that has less open space for recreation. Furthermore, nationwide, the National
Center for Health Statistics has determined that the estimated number of adults over twenty
who are considered obese has reached 60 million or thirty percent of the population. For
children ages 8 to 17 there has been a dramatic increase, a tripling of the numbers over the
last twenty years (NCHS, Health & Stats 2005). Despite this knowledge, the national trend
continues to go up. In Massachusetts, half of all adults are estimated to be either overweight
or obese. The main causal factors of these figures are nutrition and exercise. Having a rail
trail running through these urbanized locals would permit healthier lifestyle choices. High
population densities also put stress on the transportation networks than connect suburban
communities to jobs. Rail-trails can provide choices for commuters who live close enough to
public transportation to consider leaving their cars at home, and walking or riding their bike.
The Northern Strand Community Trail makes a direct connection to Wellington Station, a
major subway and bus station connecting these small urban towns to Boston.
The Bike to the Sea organization's mission is to advocate for the development of a bike and
pedestrian trail from the Malden area to the North Shore beaches of Lynn and Revere
Massachusetts. We also promote bicycling and bicycle safety in Malden, Massachusetts and
surrounding communities in several ways: We sponsor social and pleasure rides along the New
England coast, and we participate in local bicycle fairs held by schools and civic groups; In
addition, we advocate for safer streets and more transportation options for local commuters. For
the past twelve years, members have organized a Bike to the Sea Day. This event takes place in
June, and involves all of the membership, bike enthusiasts, and local law enforcement officials.
The day begins in Malden, Massachusetts, when two groups of cyclist make their way along a
route that runs close to the trail bed through the communities of Revere, Lynn, and Saugus, and
reaches several local beaches and recreational areas. Areas such as Revere Beach, the Rumney
Marsh, and the Saugus River are great places to visit, and riders recognize them as desirable
conservation areas of the urban landscape. At the end of the event, participants can enjoy a light
lunch at a local restaurant, and receive prizes and incentives from local bike shops.
It is for the above reasons that The Bike to the Sea Inc. feels it is important to educate local
communities, city governments, and businesses of the considerable social benefits the Northern
Strand Community Trail. The proposed trail awareness and clean-up days will provide another
opportunity for advocates to demonstrate their commitment to see the trail to fruition. A grant
will provide the financial support to ensure the success of the program both as an advocacy event
and as an outdoor recreational opportunity on a proposed rail-trail.