Community Action Keeps Tully Mountain Part of Our Common Ground
Tully Loop Trail is a 22-mile hiking trail that begins and ends on the summit of Tully Mountain, passing along the shore of Tully Lake, along Jacobs Ridge (with its panoramic views), past three waterfalls (Doanes, Spirit and Royalston Falls), through Royalston and Warwick State Forests, along a section of the interstate Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, past Clubhouse Pond, and past picturesque North Orange. It passes through Warwick, Royalston and Orange.
This remarkable project was undertaken at very little cost with most of the labor provided by people from the nearby communities in volunteer work days, and by others from as far away as Georgia who care about outdoor recreation in high-quality environments.
Throughout the summer of 1999, work crews extended and blazed the trail. Events and weekly hikes introduced people to the new trail thanks to the efforts of Coordinator of Volunteers, Gary Culver.
The trail helped inspire new land protection efforts like the Tully Initiative, in which the Commonwealth, Mount Grace, and other conservation groups protected more than 9,000 acres.
When a 2007 proposal to place a 30+ lot development on nearby Gale Farm threatened the contiguity of the natural habitat and the hiking experience on the trail, the community was moved to action. Mount Grace purchased the farm and protected it with help from two conservation buyers and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Volunteers from the community came together to run a series of walks, talks, and get-togethers focused on the farm and its place in the Tully River Valley landscape in order to help Mount Grace raise awareness about the farm and raise money for the project. With support from 145 citizens, businesses, and local groups, and a grant from the Bromley Charitable Trust, the conservation of Gale Farm was completed in May of 2010.
The 72-acre Gale Farm, now called Tully Meadow Farm, provides a home for both wild and domestic animals. Easily visible from Tully Mountain and the Tully Trail, the farm also includes frontage along the west branch of the Tully River, a cold water fishing stream.