Blazing Trails in Norwood

Donna Lane
Issue Date: 
March, 2019
Article Body: 

If someone asked you the locations of all of the walking trails in Norwood, would you be able to name them? If you said no, you’d be in the majority. There are currently six usable trails, with many more to come if the Trails Committee has its way.
The Norwood Trail Advisory Committee is made up of nine very active Norwood residents: Chairman Joe Greely, Vic Babel, Gerry Miller, Ernie Paciorkowski, Lee Leach, Sue Bartlett, Craig Austin, Marguerite Krupp and Fran Rush. Town Planner Paul Halkiotis consults with the group, which reports to Tony Mazzucco, Norwood Town Manager, an enthusiastic supporter of the trails.
The Trails Committee is committed to assisting town officials in educating, exploring and encouraging the use of existing trails and the development of future trail networks in Norwood and the surrounding region. The group meets every other week to assess the potential of various locations in Norwood and works very closely with the Conservation Commission.
Committee member Victor Babel said there is money available for building trails in our community through grants from the Community Preservation Act, which requires that some percentage be allocated to open space, as well as grants available through the Neponset River Watershed Association and MassTrails, the state’s recreational trails program. The Committee plans special volunteer events to clean up various sites. The Norwood Boy Scouts have already volunteered to make signs for the Endean Trail. Babel’s enthusiasm for the project is palpable.
So where are these walking trails? The most developed trail in town is the Endean Trail, which begins from behind Hawes pool and ends behind the Coakley Middle School soccer field. This trail has many loops so the walk is quite interesting.
Shattuck Park has several short trails, one of which is a very short walk to pick up the trail in Highland Cemetery.
“At the end of the cemetery’s John Kennedy Lane, you can cut across the grass that leads into the woods where you pick up the trail to the Willett School (stay to the left),” Babel explained. “Cut across the Willett School until you come to the wall of the baseball field. Following the path, you’ll be able to take the trail to the Norwood landfill. Explore the landfill. On a clear day, you can see Gillette Stadium from the top of the landfill near the water tower! Once you’ve explored the landfill, come down to the path again. You will now be at Winter Street. Cross Winter Street (be careful, it’s a busy street) and follow the trail; you will come out at the Father McAleer Playground, better known as Father Mac’s.”
Just getting warmed up and want to walk some more? Head over to Route 1A (Walpole Street). If you’re tired or just need a break, stop by the Certified Butterfly Garden next door to the Big Y plaza. There are benches and tables there to help you get your second wind. Cross the street and pick up the small walking trail that runs one-quarter of the way around Ellis Pond then out to the George F. Willett Parkway.
At the other end of town, you can walk the Pezwick Trail, which begins on Sumner Street at the William Pezwick Park and runs to the back of Norwood Gardens. Germany Brook runs alongside the trail. There are also two small ponds in the wooded area. Across the parking lot, there is another trail on land owned by Norwood Electric. If you follow the trail, it takes you to Franks and Regal at the end of Morgan Drive.
The Ledgeview Trail can be accessed at the end of Ledgeview Drive. It’s the right of way for the MWRA sewer system which takes you to the edge of the Neponset River.
The Hennessey Field Trail is off of Pleasant Street near the Kelley baseball field. It runs up to Cross Street. The trail splits and comes back together so you can’t get lost!
The Trails committee has already reached one agreement toward its trail expansion plan. The new Boston Skating Club, at 720 University Ave., has agreed to allow the Town to use the back of their property for trails. This property is adjacent to significant acreage owned by Norwood Electric and Norwood Conservation. The hope is eventually a walking trail can be carved out of this area and connected to the Skating Club Trail, with the long-range goal of connecting to Meadows Street.
The towns of Westwood, Walpole and Sharon are interested in exploring the possibility of connecting our trails to theirs. Massachusetts encourages towns to connect their trails and offers additional funding for doing so.
A number of other areas have also been scouted by the Committee and identified as potential trails. But for now, Norwood residents can explore the six trails that have been identified. No motorized vehicles are allowed, but dogs on leashes are welcome.

Special thanks to Vic Babel for the personal tour of the trail sites, his enthusiasm about the committee’s mission, and his patience with this writer’s many questions.