The water highway of its day, the Middlesex Canal ran 27 miles from the Merrimack River in Lowell to Boston Harbor in Charlestown. This canal, along with dozens of others in the industrialized world at the time, highlighted a half-century period when canals were the most effective way to haul freight through New England. The Middlesex Canal literally carried the region into the Industrial Revolution. The canals were smooth alternatives to rocky, rutted, and muddy roads.
This crucial part of the nationís transportation heritage will be restored and reactivated to the greatest extent possible at various locations in the five cities and towns along its historic alignment. A major part of this exciting work will be to design landscape restoration of the canal in a way that highlights the canalís prominent place in the regions history. Using the former towpath as a walking, biking, and winter recreation element will be considered as will the creation of numerous heritage nodes along the way, offering interpretation and public understanding of prominent aspects of this national treasure. From an engineering perspective, hydraulically re-activating as many contiguous portions of the canal as possible will also be considered. The goal of this exciting project is to develop a National Park quality cultural resource out of this intricate and dynamic public landscape and transportation element.
Sensitive environmental restoration and permitting along with extensive public interaction with thousands of abutters and numerous municipal governments is also a critical part of this on-going project.