Cleanup on the Blackstone River Bikeway, Millbury-Worcester


Cleanup volunteers getting ready to head out

I have always loved helping out at cleanup events–so much more fun than housework, those repetitive chores that quickly become undone. There’s usually a sense of fun, working together, and then the job is done, at least for a while.


Volunteers crossing Rt. 146 to start cleaning the trail. The trail over the highway is separated from traffic on Rt. 122.

When I got the invitation to participate in the clean up of the Blackstone River bikeway in Millbury, I was interested for several reasons. One was to figure out where the heck the parking for this 3-mile section of paved railtrail actually is. Another was to be part of a group of folks doing something to make the trail better. And another reason was that I had only been on part of this trail several years ago and I wanted to see what was there.


My walking buddy, Bonnie. Thanks for your help doing the field work for Easy Walks in MA 2nd edition!

What I found? A great group of folks from the Blackstone River Heritage Corridor. I met up with one of my walking buddies, Bonnie, so I gave her a “thank you” copy of the latest Easy walks 2nd edition.


Congressman Jim McGovern in his working clothes, ready to hit the trail to help in the cleanup effort.

Congressman Jim McGovern came in his work clothes and after thanking everyone who came, he headed out to take part in the cleanup. As he said, “I helped get the money to pay for this trail. I love to see people out here enjoying it.”


Get some great views of the Blackstone River from the bridges of the railtrail

While the noise of Rt. 146 is pervasive, there are a number of bridges with great views that get travelers across the Blackstone River.


Turtles on holiday in the river, enjoying the sunshine

The river is quite close to the trail and while shallow, still provides habitat for birds, turtles, and more.

Fox News sent out a cameraman, who covered Congressman McGovern’s short talk, but then walked along the trail a ways. He took some footage of me tromping along in sandals and walking sticks, no trash bag or “picker” to grab trash. Perhaps this was to add some “color” to the newscast. I was there to spend a little time on my feet while my injured toe continues to heal. I also wanted to get pictures and see the trail. My job was to be the cheering section for all the hardworking folks who came to help in the cleanup effort today.


Millbury DPW guys pitch in to help

Millbury DPW guys joined in to help. These guys love the outdoors and were glad to be outside walking the trail and working to make this a nicer environment.


Liz Myska and Jack Peacock join the effort to clean up

Liz Myska and Jack Peacock came down the trail as I was on my way back. Liz walked with a white cane, a pretty universal sign that she is sight-impaired. Jack walked beside Liz. We stopped in the shade to talk and found we had lots to share with each other. I look forward to seeing how this chance encounter develops into ways we may be able to work together on projects in the future.


Willing volunteers making a difference and having fun

Thankfully the heatwave of the past several weeks has broken so most folks were pretty comfortable with temps that were in the 70s.


Dave Barber tackling a determined shrub the thought the bike path was a great place to grow.

But it was still warm in the full sun, and I saw folks sweating as they worked to remove small shrubs that were attempting to grab a foothold in the pavement along the edge of the trail. Those shrubs didn’t stand a chance in the face of volunteers’ determined efforts!


The river is right next to the trail in some sections. Lots of shade in this area too.

This is still a short section of trail, 3 miles in length, but there are some pretty views of the river along the way. To get to the start in Millbury, travel north on rt. 146 to exit 9, Rt 122A and hang a right onto 122A.The parking is almost immediately on the right, parking for about 15 cars. This is right at the edge of Millbury, near the Worcester town line. There is additional parking in Worcester.


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

4 responses to “Cleanup on the Blackstone River Bikeway, Millbury-Worcester

  1. Mary Chitty

    great article.. loved the pictures and your take on the day. and to get a congressman out is an achievement! mary glen

  2. Hi Marjorie,
    Well done, thank you for being our personal VIP cheerleader! Remember to count it as volunteer time… imagine the possibilities!

    • marjorie561

      Thanks Suzanne–I had a great time–what a well-organized event. Thanks for putting in all that legwork and getting the word out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.