Upper Charles Trail

In 2012, the Town of Hopkinton established the Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) and charged it with developing Hopkinton's portion of the Upper Charles Trail, a proposed recreational path to link five towns -  Hopkinton, Milford, Holliston, Sherborn, Ashland. Hopkinton's portion will connect to the sections in Milford (completed) and Ashland (design underway).

The Committee released their proposed route for the Hopkinton portion of the trail in August 2021. The Trails Club had concerns about aspects of the proposal and developed an alternative proposal for a portion of the route. Links to the UCTC's proposal and the Trails Club's suggested alternative are below: We urge the public to remain involved in following this project and providing feedback. The UCTC meets regularly - usually the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month. Visit the Hopkinton town website and scroll down to the Events Calendar for meeting details. Click the "more details" link for the remote link and agenda (may not be available until close to the meeting date). HCAM streams the UCTC meetings on their channel (Comcast 8, Verizon 30) and on YouTube, and recordings of the meetings are also available through HCAM. The Hopkinton Independent usually provides summaries of the meetings as well.

An important note...

The Trails Club fully supports the development of Hopkinton’s portion of the Upper Charles Trail. On its own it will be a wonderful addition to the Town’s trail network, and if/when the entire five town trail is completed, it will be an amazing recreational resource. We recognize that the Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) has a very difficult task identifying a route in Hopkinton, and we applaud them for their efforts to date. While the Trails Club has raised some concerns with portions and aspects of the current proposal from the UCTC, our intent is to assist, not oppose the Committee. We have a wealth of experience within the Club with trails, as users and developers, and we have used that knowledge to develop detailed alternatives to address our concerns. We look forward to continuing to help create the best possible trail for our community.

News & Updates:

26 May 2024:

The Upper Charles Trail Committee has met four times since being reinstated. They continue to work on developing a new committee charge.

12 March 2024:

The Selectboard voted unanimously to reinstate the Upper Charles Trail Committee (again) and charged it with creating a new committee charge (again). No time frame was specified for either objective.

23 December 2023:

The Upper Charles Trail Committee has not met since being reinstated.

2 August 2023:

The Select Board voted unanimously to reinstate the Upper Charles Trail Committee and keep it separate from the Trail Coordination and Management Committee, but with both committees modifying their structures and charges.
Hopkinton Independent article
HopNews article

10 July 2023:

The results from the Select Board's survey have been published, and the Board will be holding a joint meeting with the TCMC and the UCTC on July 11 to review the results and discuss the next steps.

29 May 2023:

Both citizen petitions passed at Town Meeting. The Select Board discussed the votes at their next meeting, but did not take any action at that time. The UCTC then met and re-elected their leadership team. Subsequently, the Select Board voted to suspend the UCTC's activities until at least July 11. The Select Board also formed a subcommittee to develop a survey to gather input on the UCTC's future.

19 February 2023:

Two citizen petitions have been submitted for Town Meeting articles. One would prohibit spending any public funds for Section 7 (along Hayden Rowe St.). The other calls for the Upper Charles Trail Committee to be disbanded, and reformed as a subcommittee under the Trails Coordination & Management Committee (which would be renamed the Trails Committee). If approved by the Town Council, the community will have an opportunity to vote on the proposals at Town Meeting (May 1-3).

In other news, the committee charged with replacing the Elmwood School has recommended a new school be built on the town property adjacent to the Marathon School. The UCTC's current route goes through that property. The School Committee had declined to support that route because of the possibility the property might be selected for a new school.

18 November 2022:

Though no updates have been posted for quite a while, work on this project has continued. The UCTC is continuing to pursue funding and designs for Segment 6, around Marathon School, while also working on Segment 1 (Hopkinton State Park to East Main Street). A survey of Hayden Rowe Street confirmed that the proposed route down that road would be problematic. Subcommittees have been looking at various aspects of the trail, including the proposed western alternative route. The committee has said they were working on improving information sharing, but the most recent updates on their pages on the Town's website are from March. There have been no public meetings since the April 13 workshop. HCAM continues to broadcast (and record) the UCTC meetings, and The Independent publishes summaries of those meetings.

13 April 2022:

The Upper Charles Trail Committee has voted to drop their request at Town Meeting for funding of segments 5 & 6. Read the details in The Hopkinton Independent's article.

27 March 2022:

eHop has published parts 2 & 3 of their series of articles about the Upper Charles Trail project
25 March 2022:

The Upper Charles Trail Committee (UCTC) will be conducting a workshop on April 13 at 5PM at the Hopkinton Senior Center. The goal of the workshop is to provide residents an opportunity to view and provide feedback on the proposed trail alignments evaluated by or presented to the UCTC to date. The workshop will be hosted by town staff, and individual stations will be set up for residents to ask questions of Town staff and shared-use path design professionals. Members of the Upper Charles Trail Committee will also be in attendance. A Google Meeting Room will also be provided for those residents who may not be able to attend in person. A host will be provided by the town to answer any questions in the remote meeting room. The link will be posted on the web meeting calendar, which can be found on the town's website homepage.

18 March 2022:

The UCTC has established a project page to share information with the community. They've also published an FAQ document (#1, with more to come). Presumably the FAQ document will be linked to the project page at some point.
2 March 2022:

UCTC meeting
27 February 2022:

eHop article (part 1) providing a history and overview of the project

16 February 2022:

UCTC meeting. The proposed route might require a realignment of Hayden Rowe Street?

19 January 2022:

The UCTC invited the Trails Club to attend their meeting and discuss the alternative western route. This meeting was broadcast on HCAM-TV. A recording of the meeting can be viewed on HCAM's YouTube channel. No public comments were allowed during the meeting, but the Committee Chair encouraged the public to send emails with their input.

Presentation materials are below:
14 January 2022:

The Upper Charles Trail Committee sent an email to the Select Board indicating that they were not ready to request permission to prepare and submit an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) for the trail.  An ENF is required for projects that create over 10 acres of impervious surface or meet other criteria.  For a 12 foot wide asphalt-paved trail, a trail over 6.8 miles long requires notification, and the Upper Charles Trail is 8 miles long, although the trail surface is some areas must remain stone dust, and the overall surface has reportedly not been decided.  A stone dust trail would typically not require such notification.  An ENF filing can cost between $25,000 and $100,000, depending on land conditions. 

13 January 2022:

The Hopkinton School Committee voted unanimously to not support Segment 6 of the Upper Charles Trail, a segment planned to extend around Marathon School and into the town-owned Irvine-Todaro Property.  The Todaro property is a possible location for a replacement for the Elmwood School.  Jane Moran, Chair of the Upper Charles Trail Committee noted that the trail "is an allowed use" and that it had "nothing to do with the school committee," even though the trail would pass one and possibly two elementary schools.  The issue was timely as the Upper Charles Trail Committee is submitting a grant proposal for engineering funds for Segment 6 to the DCR MassTrails grant program in early February, and community support is a consideration in the grant application.

HCAM recording of the meeting on YouTube (starting at the discussion of the trail)

5 January 2022:

The UCTC met via Zoom on January 5 to review the December 8 public forum
8 December 2021:

On December 8, 2021, the UCTC held a public forum to present their proposed route and to take questions and comments. Information about that meeting is below: