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Gary Riggott hosts ‘Exploring Walpole’s Trails’

Riggott thanked his family for being so supportive of all the time he's spent volunteering for the Trails Committee.

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On Wednesday night, April 27, Gary Riggott gave a Zoom presentation about the Walpole Trails Committee, the issues facing Walpole’s green spaces, and the ways he’d like to see town residents get their kids into hiking Walpole’s various trails, called “Exploring Walpole’s Trails.” The hour-long talk touched on a variety of topics, from Walpole’s newest fields on Route 1A, to a wintertime venture into Cedar Swamp and a new look for the Walpole Trails Committee website.

Riggott started out with some business matters, highlighting both Walpole Trails’ recent endeavors - for example, how they used the COVID lockdowns to more thoroughly GPS the trails and confirm there are over fifty miles of them. From a budget standpoint, Riggott said Walpole Trails’ two main areas of focus are outreach and trail work, and that one of the largest expenses in their $650-a-year budget comes from printer ink, with them printing trail guides to hand out at Walpole Day and Jarvis Harvest (which Riggott is not sure will take place this year).

This year the Trails Committee used GPS to do an inventory of the over fifty miles of trails in Walpole.

Next, Gary outlined these trails, stopping to talk a little bit about what makes each of them unique, and give any viewers some helpful hints about where to park and things to look out for while hiking. Trail highlights included the esker at the Bay Circuit Trail’s first section, the Al Goetz Trail’s concrete marker that designates the right-angle border between Medfield and Walpole, and the potential dangers of getting hit with a golf ball while walking around the Springbrook Reservoir.   

But if there was one common theme to the talk, it was of the tremendous help Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts have been in maintaining the trails over the years, as well as their building trail markers, boardwalks and bridges. From Nich Culhane’s work on the Bay Circuit Trail to Andrew McClintlock at the Endean Trail and Robert McClintolock’s work on the Pinnacle Trail, many Scout projects were pointed to as having been pivotal in maintaining and creating a large number of Walpole’s best trails. Unfortunately, there’s one trail that no amount of volunteers could help Riggott with.

Riggott pointed out how much help the Boy Scouts have been to the Trails Committee.

RIggott spoke of how the owner of a house near the Misty Lane end of the Pinnacle Trail has cut off access to it, placing “keep out” signs on his property so hikers don’t cut through. Bluntly stating that the “homeowner screwed the town,” he said the Trails Committee have received a number of emails about it, but there’s nothing they can do; although during the Q&A period, a participant said you could still use the Old Plimpton Railroad for access.

Riggott really looked to emphasize getting young kids onto the trails, because the "Hikes for Tikes" program has been discontinued.

Still, Riggott emphasized the need for people to bring their children out hiking on the trails to get them involved, in large part because the “Hikes for Tykes” program that actually led to Gary joining the Walpole Trails Committee has been discontinued. He also encouraged adults to meet up and go on a moonlight hike, especially if they haven’t gone on one before, and was quick to point out that there are lots of great trails in nearby towns if you’d like to try something new, outside of Walpole.   

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