Development of the rail bed has sparked many people to express their concerns about the impact on Dover. Following are some quotes from Dover residents.
"We moved to Dover from the city. I work in the city and the hustle bustle is exciting but exhausting. When I drive over the little white bridge into Dover I feel at peace. We live on the rail bed. If this trail extends to Needham and Medfield, my backyard will feel more like the city than the rural country I chose to move to. I am concerned that other similar trails have up to 2000 people using them on the weekend. This trail is not for Dover!”
– Ted G.
“I think it will be gross to have dog poop bags all over the trail just like we have in the woods at Caryl Park. Why don’t people clean up their dog poop?”
– Dover Student
“If they pull up the rails aren’t there going to be contaminants that leach into my private well? How do we know for sure that we won’t get sick years from now? These tracks carried freight for many years and lead and arsenic is commonly found on freight corridors…should we risk our citizen’s health for this trail? I don’t think so!”
– Melissa F.
“I’m worried there are going to be strangers in my back yard while I’m playing.”
– Dover third grader
“What could possibly be motivating an effort to destroy the beautiful woodland and open space Dover has protected forever? Is there something more going on? Why is the town even considering accepting private funds from people who don’t understand our community and can’t guarantee financial support forever? I’m completely dismayed.”
– Christine O.
“I feel as though no one is asking the tough questions. I’ve lived in Dover for fifty years. We’ve had numerous long-term studies about keeping land open for recreational use. We’ve raised money to purchase open land to be enjoyed by future generations. We’ve never considered creating a public path practically like the Minuteman Trail – it is completely counterintuitive to everything Dover stands for.”
– Concerned Senior
“I would feel very awkward and unsupportive of a Rail Trail project that was built in a way that was an imposition on unhappy abutters in our small town. Whilst in abstraction, a Rail Trail using all of the MBTA track would be something that all would enjoy, if it comes about through non-abutters voting to impose something unwanted on unwilling and unsupportive abutters for the enjoyment of those aforementioned non-abutters – this is not something that should happen in a small, closely-knit town. I am not an abutter and would use a Rail Trail if it existed – but if I was an abutter, I’d be against the project if it ran behind my house.”
– Concerned Citizen
“I’m afraid of dogs, even though I know it’s silly. I live on the rail bed and I’m worried dogs are going to run in my yard. Will people keep their dogs on leashes all the time? When I was in Caryl Woods biking with my friend a dog bit me and it was scary. The dog ran ahead of it’s owner and wasn’t on a leash.”
– Dover Student
“If people want sidewalks to push strollers and tricycles they should live in a town with more sidewalks, not Dover. We don’t need a sidewalk in the woods.”
– Sarah N.
“I love riding my horse in the Wylde Woods, in Dover Conservation land and on the many trails which crisscross or run near the rail bed. I marvel at the beauty of the undisturbed woodland each and every time I ride. When I run into someone walking in the woods they are always friendly and respectful — I stop and chat and introduce my horse. I can’t imagine how dangerous it would be to ride my horse next to a hard-surfaced “greenway.” If my horse spooked at unexpected strollers, bikes or running children I could have a serious accident.”
– Betsy T.
"I grew up in Dover and went to DS schools. As a teenager I was one of the kids who hung out on parts of the rail bed. If the Town turns the rail bed into a major trail, it will be the best party venue in town! And the word will get out to kids from other towns – there’s no way Dover’s police will be able to handle the action.”
– Teddy F.
“We moved from Wellesley to Dover in 2000 as we were drawn to the peaceful landscape and small-town setting. In a matter of days we had the opportunity to meet our neighbors (also abutters) and instantly formed a tight-knit community. We very quickly came to appreciate the bucolic environment, as we returned home from a long work day in Boston. Most importantly though is that when we had our children, both currently in DSMS, we were overjoyed to be able to set them free, unencumbered, into our backyard without worry (except maybe for the errant turkey). With the current climate of longer school days and less time outside, the ability to let our children explore, be creative and grow in their independence, in the safety of their own backyard, is immeasurable. Our new neighbors, both the left and right of us, have young children. Their children will not be able to enjoy the same unencumbered freedom and growth and fostering of independence and creativity if the conversion to a trail ever came to be.”
– Kristin B.
“I don’t understand why the Open Space Committee isn’t speaking out against the development of the rail bed. Their job is to protect our open space and wildlife. There is so much research available about the terrible long-term effects of developing rail beds and how they harm flora and fauna. I wish they would read the research.”
– Tom C.
“I went to some of the original Rail Trail Committee meetings. At the end of one meeting, one of the committee members, who is now on the Planning Board, said she wanted the rail trail to be her ‘legacy.’ I was stunned and couldn’t believe how biased an elected official could be. We should be worried about Dover’s ‘legacy,’ not that of an elected official.”
– Concerned Citizen
“Over the years, I have personally donated and raised thousands of dollars to purchase, protect and maintain open space in Dover. I am appalled Dover town officials are considering accepting private funds to DEVELOP some of this space with a rail trail. This development is completely counter to what Dover stands for.”
– Concerned Citizen
“I don’t think people realize what a huge negative this rail trail will be for people who ride their horses through the woods, including riding from Dover to the steeplechase course in Medfield. It will be very dangerous.”
– Concerned Equestrian
“We moved to Dover for tranquility and to be outside in any season listening to nature. My children discover animal tracks, camp out, build forts, let their imaginations wander and simply play in our backyard near the old rail bed. They have the opportunity to grow in an incredibly safe environment and I want to keep it that way. As a parent, isn’t that what we all want?”
– Jennifer K.
“I love to hike with my dog in Dover conservation land. My dog runs free, leaps over logs, rolls around and sometimes lies down in the little streams. We both get great exercise. If the rail bed is developed, I would have to put my dog on a leash because there would be so many dogs around. Even though Dover doesn’t have a leash law, the rail trail would mean everyone would resort to using leashes because there would be so many dogs. What a shame that would be.”
– Sue W.