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Common Ground: Volunteers Needed to "Adopt" Tully Trail

As one of the original partners in the foundation of the Tully Trail, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is now seeking groups of volunteers to adopt short sections of the trail.  The 22-mile loop trail encircles the largely undeveloped Tully Valley in Orange, Royalston, and Warwick. From the summit of Tully Mountain to the cascading waters of Doane’s Falls, the trail connects some of the region’s most scenic properties and views.   A brief venture on the trail takes you to a pastoral landscape hidden less than five miles away from downtown Athol.

‘Adoption’ involves hiking your section of the trail at least twice a year. Tasks include removing fallen tree branches, debris or litter, as well as reblazing trail markings, trimming back vegetation, and reporting any misuse of the trail, or significant damage that is beyond your ability to correct. 

  • Volunteers are not expected to use chain saws or power tools on the trail, as there will be properly trained help available for larger limbs or trees across the trail.
  • Most trail work will require only loppers and hand saws.  You are welcome to use your own hand tools, but tools are available for you from Tully Trail partners.
  • General training and expert help will be provided by the partners during two scheduled volunteer training and work days each year

The map indicates the trail segments that are available for adoption.  They vary from less than a mile to 2.4 miles and, depending on the terrain, from easy to moderately challenging.  All sections are accessible from a paved or a dirt road and two of the sections (M and G) have adjacent parking lots.

Mount Grace and the other Tully Trail partners count their volunteers as one of their most valuable resources. This trail, a significant asset to the region, would become unusable without the effort of people like you. We look forward to the chance of working with you in the future.

Those interested in adopting a section of the trail can contact Jason Rhoades at 978-248-2055 x21 or outreach_americorps@

Click here to download a full trail map (6MB PDF).

The view from the summit testifies to Mount Grace’s longstanding conservation work in Athol, Orange, and Royalston:

The trail highlights some of the most naturally diverse lands of the North Quabbin BioReserve, which includes 55,000 acres of protected land stretching from Northfield to Winchendon:

Don’t let a little snow keep you indoors:

The trail crosses Fish Brook, and follows the brook for about half a mile...

…providing an ideal spot to take a snack break during your hike:

Sheomet Lake, Tully Pond, Long Pond, Packard Pond, and Tully Lake are all within walking distance of the trail:

By offering hikers a fun destination, Tully Trail helps get people in touch with the rural communities around the trail:

The Trail Connects the Tully Mountain Wildlife Management Area to the Orange, Royalston, and Warwick State Forests, helping define the core of the BioReserve:

Volunteers re-routed the trail to a new trailhead parking area on Mountain Road in the summer of 2009: