On Sunday, a doughty band known as the Bourne Rail Trail Blazers will get on their bicycles on the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal and pedal their way to Woods Hole as part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Watershed Ride.
They specifically will be pedaling for a cause close to their hearts: the proposed Bourne Rail Trail.
The Blazers are among the members of a larger group, the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail, working to make the proposed trail a reality.
The trail would fill in the 6.5 miles between the end of the Shining Sea Bikeway in North Falmouth and the western end of the Cape Cod Canal Recreation Path.
Completing the Bourne Rail Trail would create about 25 miles of uninterrupted trail on the Upper Cape from Woods Hole to Sandwich.
Much of that 25-mile stretch, of course, would be remarkably scenic, with knock-out views of Vineyard Sound, Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal itself.
Not to mention that the trail would provide a safe, fun way for people of all ages to bike and walk along the stretch.
The trail won’t be cheap. Current estimates place the overall cost at anywhere from $15 million to $25 million.
While the bulk of the money eventually would come from federal and state sources, initial costs in the fledgling project pretty much have to be met locally.
That’s where the Friends and a town committee, the Bourne Town Administrator’s Advisory Committee on Pedestrian Bicycle Pathway, come in.
The Friends and the committee have been working hand-in-hand to advance the bike trail project.
Recently, for example, the Friends secured a $15,000 grant for the proposed trail from the the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. The conservancy works with communities to preserve unused rail corridors by transforming them into rail trails.
“The Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail take tremendous pride in how the community has responded to this project,” said their president, Nate Robinson.
“The community buy-in and support of local and regional officials,” he said, “is what has gotten us to where we are today, which looks increasingly like the creation of a continuous, 25-mile trail on the Upper Cape that will stretch from Buzzards Bay to Cape Cod Bay—or, as we like to say, ‘from sea to shining sea.’ ”
On Sunday, the Bourne Rail Trail Blazers hope to raise thousands of dollars more for the project.
For every dollar raised by the Blazers for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Friends are slated to receive a dollar from a group of donors toward the rail trail project.
At least 56 riders are scheduled to take part, Mr. Robinson said Thursday, October 3.
As part of the Watershed Ride, the Blazers are slated to complete runs of 25, 75 or 100 miles.
Last year, the Blazers were the top fundraising team on the watershed ride, and already have raised more than $33,000 in pledges as of late this week for this year’s ride.
We salute the Friends and Blazers. Talking about how nice it would be to connect the Cape Cod Canal path to the Shining Sea Bikeway is one thing; mounting an active effort to help the cause, including raising funds by bicycling a really long distance, is another.
The work of the Friends and Blazers reminds us that people still are pitching in to make their community a better place.
The Friends are a volunteer-run organization, with minimal overhead and no full-time staff. Their fundraising goes to support the rail trail’s development. Those interested in making a donation to support the effort are invited to visit bournerailtrail.org.