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On the history trail | Friends of the Wapack Trail celebrate 90 years: 21-mile path from Ashburnham to Greenfield lined with old stories and majestic views

 By Dave Anderson
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ninety years ago, two farmers — Marion Buck of New Ipswich and Frank Robbins of Rindge — looked at the open ridgelines between Mount Watatic in Ashburnham, Mass., and North Pack Monadnock in Greenfield, and envisioned a hiking trail that could attract visitors from the Boston area. Most of the ridges were bare at the time, with cattle grazing on the heights and a commercial blueberry farm in operation on Temple Mountain. So it wasn’t difficult for Buck and Robbins to lay out a 21-mile route, which Buck named the Wapack Trail, using the first syllables of the peaks at either end of the trail.

“Marion was a good woodworker, a champion at using an axe,” says Rich Blanchette of New Ipswich, chair of the trails committee for Friends of the Wapack, the organization of volunteers that maintains the trail. “A lot of men wouldn’t take her on. And when you see old pictures of Frank, he almost always had an axe in his hands. They laid the trail out in just one year.”

The Wapack Trail was completed in 1923, the year that work first started on the famous Appalachian Trail. “We believe it’s the first intrastate hiking trail in New England,” says Mitch Call of Sharon, president of Friends of the Wapack.

The trail was an immediate hit, according to Blanchette.


Posted in: Monadnock Towns