FAQ - History of the Georgetown Recreational Path

What is the Georgetown Recreational Path?

It is a four and 1/2 mile corridor of underutilized land which winds through the heart of Georgetown. This parcel of land is officially called an abandoned railroad right of way and was once part of a railroad transportation system. This corridor will provide an improved non-motorized transportation alternative connecting areas of cultural, recreational, commercial and natural significance for residents and tourists of all ages and abilities.

When did the idea begin of developing a recreational shared-use path through Georgetown?

Committees to develop an existing underused and abandoned railroad corridor into a lateral park were formed as early as the 1970’s. The idea of a developed shareduse recreational path has been seriously considered for over a decade. The Park and Recreation Commission attempted to secure federal rail-trail funds in the mid- 80s but lacked sufficient criteria to be selected. This idea has been part of past and current versions of the Georgetown Master, Recreational and Open Space plans.

What is the current land usage of the proposed path?

It is part of an historic Boston to Maine railroad right-of-way running from Newburyport to Danvers. It was abandoned in 1941. Upon abandonment it was sold to an electric power company and now supports utility poles for power distribution operated by the National Grid Power Company.

What is an abandoned RR ROW (right-of-way)?

It is a corridor which has been a railroad bed whose owner has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board for abandonment. The abandonment applies only to freight rights. This abandonment makes the land eligible for other types of usage, such as the one being proposed.