Imagine being able to travel from the revitalized mill village of Amesbury to the beaches of the Salisbury Beach State Reservation; from shopping in historic Newburyport to the natural sites of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newbury – all without getting in your car.
The Coastal Trails Network is an emerging 30-mile, public system of bicycle and pedestrian trails linking the unique coastal features, town centers, neighborhoods and transportation hubs in the communities of Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. With several miles currently in public ownership, the trail network has already begun to offer residents and visitors a healthy, alternative means of exercising, shopping, commuting or simply enjoying the region’s abundant natural, historic and cultural resources.
Who We Are
The Coastal Trails Coalition (CTC) is composed of citizens and communities in the Lower Merrimack Valley whose mission is to advocate for the Coastal Trails Network, a public system of interconnected bicycle and pedestrian trails that will enhance local recreation, conservation, education, and tourism opportunities. The CTC receives technical assistance and support from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, the Essex National Heritage Commission and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Activities and sites along the trail
The Coastal Trail Network is ideal for walkers, runners, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, wheelchair users, hikers and others who want to enjoy the region’s natural beauty and historic resources.
Wildlife and Wetlands: Passing through one of the most pristine natural areas on the East Coast, the trails offer tremendous opportunity to observe a variety of animal and bird species and plant life.
Beaches and Recreation: The trails connect miles of pristine beach that offer swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking.
Historic Treasures: Lying within the federallydesignated Essex National Heritage Area, historic and natural sites along the trail illuminate nearly 400 years of our nation’s history.
Dining, Cultural Activities and Shopping: Delightful regional dining offerings and a large arts community provide unique trailside shopping and cultural activities.
Current Status of Trails
Clipper City Rail Trail: 1.1 mile paved trail from the MBTA Rail Station to the bank of the Merrimack River with connections at Low Street, High Street and Washington Street. Also connects to the Newburyport Harborwalk and Cashman Park. Fabulous view of the river.; Sculpture park along trail.
Old Eastern Marsh Trail: 1.3 mile paved trail from Friedenfels St. and the Merrimack River to Mudnock Road. Beautiful walk through woods to an open expanse of the Great Marsh near Town Creek. Outstanding birdwatching all year, animal tracking in winter, turtle nesting in spring. Interpretive signs cover railroad history, history of the bridges and ferries crossing the Merrimack, Salisbury’s first settlers and Great Marsh Wildlife.
Salisbury Point Ghost Trail: 1.7 mile gravel trail from Lion’s Park in Salisbury Square to Rabbit Road with crossings at Cushing St. and Bartlett St. Quiet walk through woodlands. Interpretive signs at Bartlett St. give the story of the Ghost Trains and of New England’s biggest train robbery that took place right there. Caution:Parts of trail may be flooded in spring and after heavy rains.
Amesbury Riverwalk: 1 mile paved trail from downtown Amesbury to Carriagetown Marketplace. Nice views of the Powow River; access to shopping and downtown activities.
Plum Island Bike Lanes: 2.2 miles of bike lanes connect downtown Newburyport with the beaches of Plum Island, Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge and Headquarters, Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center and the Plum Island Airport, one of the oldest in the country.
See the Coastal Trails Coalition 2014 Progress Report for information on trail projects now underway.
How is trail development and related projects funded?
The Coastal Trails Network will be built using a combination of federal, state, local and private funds, including foundation grants and donations from corporations and individuals.