F. Gilbert Hills State Forest

A couple crosses a bridge on the Prospect Trail at the F. Gilbert Hills State Forest in Foxboro.

The state has announced nearly $4 million in grant funding to support 52 trail projects across the commonwealth as part of the MassTrails Grant Program. The projects include one in the F. Gilbert State Forest, including portions in Foxboro and Wrentham.

The announcement was made by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who joined Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery, and state and local officials at the Army Corps of Engineers Cape Cod Canal Visitors Center in Sandwich last week.

The local state forest project, according to the state, project builds off previous trail repair work aimed to protect wetland and soil resources, repair poor trail conditions, and enhance user experience for all visitors.

“Years of repeated motorized use with a lack of substantial trail repair have resulted in a trail which is up to fifteen feet wide in various locations. Fall line trails with poor drainage potential have left some areas eroded to almost two feet below the original trail surface. Conditions addressed as part of the project include braided hill climbs, mud pits with standing water, and needed trail relocation.”

The grant for the state forest work is $25,000.

“Massachusetts has a vast network of public trails which connect communities and regions together, providing recreation, exercise, and tremendous access to the natural world, and this funding offers an excellent opportunity to continue building and expanding that network and support new opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.

The MassTrails Grant Program is funded through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s capital budget, and from the motor fuel excise tax on off-road vehicles, including ATVs and snowmobiles, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Surface Transportation Act, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Tom Reilly can be reached at 508-236-0332 or treilly@thesunchronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tomreillynews.

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