Where have we come from over the past ten years? What’s in store for the next ten years?
Ten people met in August for the first ever Advisory Committee for the Friends of Northampton Trails and Greenways. The discussion focused primarily on the future of the Trails and Greenways of Northampton, and the specifically, the future of the organization.
The evening started with a reflection of the accomplishments of FNTG over the past ten years since it was founded. There is a lot for FNTG to be proud of: incorporation, construction of new trails throughout the city, regular newsletters, a printed map with over 100,000 in circulation over the years, the development of a more involved Board, regular fundraising, organized trail cleanups in the Spring, greater networking with surrounding neighboring towns, helping the city with letters of support for grants, serving as a fiscal agent to other efforts, and the creation of the Annual Trail Neighbor Awards.
There are also other positive changes that have occurred in the community around the increased use of the trails, creation of additional miles of rail trails throughout Northampton, improvements in the trails and much better signage, winter plowing of many of the trails, greater tourism because of the trails, and an increased amount of community support for the trails. All of which is very positive, if sometimes challenging (such as the greater need for maintenance).
The gathering then reflected on our dreams and wishes for the trails in Northampton over the next ten years. These dreams for the next ten years ranged from the practical, such as better maintenance for the trails, to the whimsical, such as an arts festival.
Finally, we discussed the need to bring in new and additional volunteers to help reach our dreams for the next ten years. Nick Horton announced his intention to step down at Board President at the end of this year, and we discussed the need to start planning for a successor. We brainstormed ideas about the work of FNTG and whom might be willing to get more involved.
Depending on the interest and energies of the future Board of FNTG and volunteers, the organization could grow more active or shrink down its activities. He discussed different models that might work, depending on interest and leadership. Some members volunteered to help spread the word that new volunteers, and new Board members are needed.
We hope that you’ll continue to enjoy our wonderful trail network and consider ways to support the efforts that have gotten us this far.