Trail Projects


ECTA has completed town wide trail management plans for Ipswich, Hamilton, West Newbury, Essex and Topsfield.    These  innovative TMPs will streamline trail management decisions for the town, and help us help private and public landowners manage their trails quickly and professionally.  ECTA is the only organization offering this valuable service to towns, landowners and public agencies.


ECTA has completed and printed maps for Ipswich, Hamilton and Wenham and Topsfield and West Newbury as well as our new Crosstown Map.  We are currently mapping Essex trails and hope to have this published soon.  If you are interested in obtaining a map, please see a list of stores that carry our maps.


ECTA responds regularly and quickly to dozens of requests to remove fallen trees and brush, and improve water crossings.  We work on trails on both public and privately owned lands where landowners have allowed public access.  We make extensive repairs to trails throughout our sytem and construct new trails where needed to avoid erosion or for safety issues.


ECTA is actively working with several generous landowners to place permanent trail easements across their lands.  These landowners, and the many others that permit trail users on their lands, are the glue that holds our trail community together.


General Mowing and Clearing in 2015:

  • New England Biolabs, Ipswich/Hamilton
  • Maplecroft, Ipswich
  • Donovan Hill Trail, Hamilton
  • Pingree Woods, Hamilton
  • Collarbone Field, Hamilton
  • Miles River to Gordon Conwell, Hamilton
  • Donovan Hill, Hamilton
  • Harvard Woods, Hamilton
  • Sagamore Road easements, Hamilton
  • Moulton Street, Hamilton
  • Removed downed trees from: John Pingree Reservation, Yellow House Field, Ipswich Country Club, Sagamore Hill, Gosselin easement, New England Biolabs

Trail Projects in 2015:

  • Riverbend Pedestrian Boardwalks, West Newbury
  • New England Biolabs, Inc. Trail Relocation, Ipswich
  • Blackbrook Road Trail/Discover Hamilton Trail, Trail Repair and Beaver Deceiver, Hamilton
  • Bradley Palmer State Park Bay Circuit Trail #5, Topsfield
  • Bradley Palmer State Park Trail Repair Between #30-#35-#33
  • Willowdale State Forest #44 – Boardwalk Over Failed Culvert, Ipswich
  • Permitted Bridge at Bull Brook Reservoir, Ipswich
  • Pike’s Bridge Road, West Newbury
  • Trail Relocation at 431 Highland Street, Hamilton
  • Mill River Project/Crossing in the Georgetown Rowley State Forest, Rowley
  • Culvert and Beaver Deceiver in Causeway Between Colby and Collarbone Fields, Hamilton


General Mowing and Clearing in 2014:

  • New England Biolabs, Ipswich/Hamilton
  • Maplecroft, Ipswich
  • Donovan Hill Trail, Hamilton
  • Pingree Woods, Hamilton
  • Collarbone Field, Hamilton
  • Miles River to Gordon Conwell, Hamilton
  • Donovan Hill, Hamilton
  • Harvard Woods, Hamilton
  • Sagamore Road easements, Hamilton
  • Moulton Street, Hamilton
  • Removed downed trees from: New England Biolabs, Ipswich River Watershed Assoc., Linebrook Woods, Donovan Hill, Gosselin easement, Julia Bird Reservation

Trail Projects in 2014:

  • Relocated Bay Circuit Trail over Prospect Hill, Ipswich/Rowley
  • Repaired Bradley Palmer State Park Highland Street Parking Lot, Hamilton
  • Negotiated easements for new trail connecting Gathering Farm to Yellow House Field Trail, Hamilton
  • Cleared vegetation, added surfacing, installed fencing and repaired stone wall to create new trail connecting Gathering Farm to Yellow House Field Trail, Hamilton
  • Repaired trail surfacing in muddy areas of Ipswich River Watershed Association trail network, Ipswich
  • Created new trail extension off of existing Turkey Hill Trail, Ipswich (with Town of Ipswich Open Space)
  • Repaired eroded areas of Donovan Hill Cross Trail, Hamilton
  • Permitted and designed Riverbend boardwalks, West Newbury (with Town of West Newbury Open Space)
  • Repaired existing beaver deceiver on Black Brook, Hamilton
  • Installed new beaver deceived on Black Brook, Hamilton


General Mowing and Clearing in 2013:

  • New England Biolabs, Ipswich/Hamilton
  • Maplecroft, Ipswich
  • Donovan Hill Trail, Hamilton

Trail Projects in 2013:

  • Repaired muddy sections of trail on trail from Blackbrook Road into Pingree Reservation, Hamilton
  • Cleared overgrown trail network on expanded Ipswich River Watershed Association Trail campus, Ipswich
  • Removal of trespass camp on Prospect Hill, Ipswich (with Town of Ipswich Open Space)
  • Cut back growth and repaired muddy and rooty sections of New England Biolabs, Inc. Foster Crossing Trail, Ipswich
  • Relocated, repaired and added kiosks and signage to Donovan Hill Trail, Hamilton
  • Performed major repairs to trail surfacing at New England Biolabs/HWOLT trail network, Ipswich/Hamilton
    Mowing/Maintenance: Maplecroft, New England Biolabs, Donovan Hill


General Mowing and Clearing in 2012:

  • 315 Sagamore Street, Hamilton
  • Gardner Street, Hamilton
  • Harvard Woods, Hamilton
  • Pingree Woods, Hamilton
  • New England Biolabs, Ipswich/Hamilton
  • Maplecroft, Ipswich
  • Moulton Street, Hamilton
  • Miles River to Gordon Conwell, Hamilton
  • Gardner Street to Bay Road, Hamilton
  • Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield/Hamilton
  • Willowdale State Forest, Topsfield/Ipswich

Trail Projects in 2012:

  • Installed new beaver deceiver at New England Biolabs (Hamilton/Ipswich)
  • Repaired causeway between Bay Rd and Bridge St (Hamilton)
  • Cleared downed trees in Linebrook Woods (Ipswich)
  • Resurfaced trail, mowed and re-signed Maplecroft Trail (Ipswich)
  • Installed new boardwalk on Discover Hamilton Trail (Hamilton)
  • Replaced washed out boardwalk on Discover Hamilton Trail (Hamilton)
  • Rerouted Discover Hamilton Trail off Cutler St and Highland Rd and re-signed entire trail (Hamilton)
  • Re-surfaced bridge and repaired footing on trail near bridge at Donovan/Sagamore Hill (Hamilton)
  • Mowed Trails at Donovan Ballfields/Woods (Hamilton)
  • Repaired muddy area on Donovan Ballfields Trail (Hamilton)
  • Permitted & constructed Ocean Meadow Trail boardwalk (West Newbury)
  • Brushcut edges of Moon Hill at Bradley Palmer Park (Hamilton)
  • Brushcut trails at New England Biolabs and Hamilton-Wenham Open Lands Trust properties (Ipswich/Hamilton)
  • Cleared invasive vegetation from Accessible Trail at Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield)
  • Replaced 3 culverts and repaired trail at Willowdale State Forest (Topsfield/Ipswich)
  • Rerouted trail & constructed boardwalk at Dow Brook (Ipswich)

Many of these projects were made possible by grants from Fields Pond Foundation, REI, Massachusetts DCR Recreational Trails Program, New England Biolabs Foundation, New England Biolabs, Inc. Giving Program

Easements secured in 2012:

Brick Ends Farm (Hamilton)
Relocated Donovan/Sagamore Hill easement to provide better connectivity to Donovan Ballfields and Clark and Sears trails (Hamilton)


Trail Projects in 2011:

•    Repaired Wooden Bridge in Linebrook Woods (Ipswich)
•    Completed Trail Improvements in Bradley Palmer State Park (Hamilton/Topsfield)
•    Cleared Trails at Harvard Forest (Hamilton)
•    Cleared Beaver Deceiver Behind Doyon School (Ipswich)
•    Repaired Sears/Clark Trail Bridge (Hamilton)
•    Cleared/Mowed Trails at The Ski Hill (Hamilton)
•    Permitted Rowley Bridge (Rowley)
•    Mowed Trails Donovan Ballfields/Woods (Hamilton)
•    Opened Trails at Iron Rail (Wenham)
•    Repaired Beaver Deceiver at New England Biolabs (Ipswich)
•    Cleared/Mowed Trail at Sagamore Street (Hamilton)
•    Cleared/Mowed Trail at Gardner Street/Farrington Lane (Hamilton)
•    Cleared/Mowed Trails at Pingree Woods (Hamilton)
•    Cleared/Mowed Trails at Blackbrook Road/Pingree Reservation (Hamilton)
•    Cleared Trails at Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield/Hamilton)
•    Cleared Trails at Willowdale State Forest  (Topsfield/Ipswich)
•    Repaired Little Trail Causeway (Ipswich)
•    Created New Donovan/Sagamore Hill Trail (Hamilton, Ipswich, Essex)
•    Purchased $29K worth of materials for Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield/Hamilton)
•    Cleared & maintained beaver deceivers at Doyon School in Ipswich and Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield
•    Installed beaver deceiver at railroad culvert on Discover Hamilton trail (Hamilton)

Easements secured in 2011:

Donovan/Sagamore Hill in Hamilton
DePiero property in West Newbury (adjacent to Riverbend Conservation Area)



ECTA Community Trails Conservation Program

In an effort to raise awareness among community members and volunteers about our extensive 400-mile trail network, ECTA aims to engage a network of volunteers and young families from the six towns we serve to help repair existing trails, clear debris after storm events, engage in seasonal trail cleanups and participate in educational trail walks. The Community Trails Conservation Program will bring more users to our trails by: (1) hosting a series of four volunteer trail workdays; (2) organizing a series of four educational trail walks or talks; (3) designing, posting and updating trail maps on our website; and (4) improving outreach for National Trails Day, one of ECTA’s signature events.

ECTA Trail Protection Program

This program has been designed to 1) increase our capacity to negotiate trail easements on critical links thorughout our trail network, 2) complete trail mapping of all of our towns and an additional map of the core area we serve: Willowdale State Forest through Appleton Farms and New England Biolabs, 3) conduct Trail Assessments on Willowdale State Forest, New England Biolabs and the Discover Hamilton Trail, 4) complete Trail Management Plans for Essex and Wenham in order to streamline trail repairs through the conservatin commissions, saving time and money.

ECTA Essex Outreach Program

The Essex Outreach Program is designed to extend the level of service that ECTA provides to its five other member towns to include Essex as well.  ECTA has already developed maps for the five other towns we serve and we have developed management plans for four of them. Our Essex Outreach Program represents ECTA’s efforts to improve the standing of Essex trails which represent an important portion of our 400 mile trail system. The outreach program includes the following: (1) outreach to landowners to increase members in Essex, (2) working with Essex County Greenbelt Association, volunteers and landowners to secure new trail easements in Essex, (3) collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Essex Conservation Commission to complete a town-wide Trail Management Plan, and (4) producing comprehensive maps for Essex and bordering trails in Manchester.

Trail Projects in 2010:

Constructed a 180′ boardwalk through a wetland area in Willowdale State Forest (Thanks to a grant from REI)

ECTA and its incredible trail team of volunteers and contractors cleared downed trees, cut back brush, mowed trails, fixed culverts, built up trails, installed beaver deceivers, and fixed erosion in these locations in 2010:

Willowdale State Forest (Ipswich)
Bradley Palmer State Park (Topsfield/Hamilton)
Pingree Reservation (Hamilton)
Harvard Forest (Hamilton)
Sagamore Hill/Air Force Radar Base (Ipswich/Hamilton)
Black Oak Farm (Hamilton)
Miles River Rd to Gordon College (Hamilton)
Riverbend Reservation (West Newbury)
Ledyard – Myopia (Hamilton)
Ipswich River Watershed Association (Ipswich)
Myopia Schooling Field/Devon Glen (Hamilton)
Bay Circuit/Marini Farms (Ipswich)
New England Biolabs (Ipswich/Hamilton)
Dow Brook (Ipswich)
Collarbone Field (Hamilton)
County Rd to Julia Bird Reservation (Ipswich)
Winthrop St. Causeway (Hamilton)


Pingree Volunteer Day                                          West Newbury River Road Trail Repair


ECTA Trail Maintenance Sign                                Bradley Palmer Trail Repair


Trail Projects in 2010:

Bradley Palmer State Park. (Hamilton, Topsfield)  ECTA received a $30,000 grant from Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation to complete much needed trail work throughout Bradley Palmer.  We focused on the swamped trails near the Asbury Street Parking Area.

In addition, we completed over $60,000 in trail improvements for 2009.  These included:

Blackbrook/Pingree network (near Winthrop St, and Cutler Road – Hamilton)
Moulton, Sagamore, Gardner and Fellows trail network (Ipswich and Hamilton).
Earlier this year, we repaired an old farm road and opend up a new trail along Waldingfield Road at Appleton Farms (Ipswich).
We funded the repair of two bridges for the Topsfield Rail Trail off of Route 97 (Topsfield)