ECTA is committed to protecting, preserving and maintaining the passive recreational trails in Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Topsfield, Wenham, and West Newbury. Here are some of the many things we do!
Protection and Easements
We work with private landowners to grant permanent trail easements to ECTA. ECTA often maintains these trails at the landowner’s request, ensuring the safety and protection of the resource. Learn more about easements!
ECTA quickly responds to requests to clear and maintain over 450 miles of trails throughout our communities. We clear downed trees, fix holes and muddy areas, mow, and mark trails.
Repair and Construction
ECTA completes major repair and construction trail projects each year. These projects include clearing and constructing new trails, installing and repairing culverts, constructing bridges and boardwalks, improving trail surfaces, and installing water flow devices to mitigate beaver impacts. See some examples here!
Trail Management Plans
ECTA has developed Trail Management Plans for the six towns we serve. These TMP’s allow us to manage trails in resource ares throughout the towns on a streamlined and expedited basis in order to save time and money.
We conduct detailed Trail Assessments that allow us to formulate and enact a plan for trail repairs, using GPS and photography, followed by a cost analysis of each area.
ECTA has approximately 50 volunteer trail stewards, who each monitor the condition of the trails in the area that they regularly use. They report issues that affect trail access, and perform light trail maintenance. Learn what you can do to help!
We regularly update our town wide trail maps to add any new or altered trails. Our maps are available in print form and also digitally through the AvenzaMaps app, and can be used for navigation and tracking using a GPS capable phone, even without a cellphone signal. AvenzaMaps is free for users. Learn more here!
We provide information to help guide trail users’ decisions about trail choices.
ECTA holds many athletic, educational, and social events throughout the year designed to promote enjoyment of the outdoors and to raise funds for the organization. Our five major annual events are listed below. Learn more about upcoming events here!
- Equine Expo, a tack/paraphernalia sale with equine demonstrations at the Topsfield Fair Arena in April.
- Spring for the Trails Half Marathon, 13.1 mile run on the trails in Willowdale State Forest in May.
- Summer Solstice Party, a lovely fundraiser held under the tents at Groton House Farm in June.
- Run for the Trails, a 5 or 10 mile trail run, held in Hamilton in September.
- Poker Bike Ride, a mountain bike event held in WIllowdale in October.
- Thanks for the Trails 5k and Kids’ Fun Run, a 5k, held in Hamilton Thanksgiving weekend.