The Witch Trail
Committee was formed in 1968 by youth members and adult leaders of a Boy
Scout Troop in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and has since been passed on
through several other troops. The original group planned to research and
document a historic trail in the Boston area as part of a troop project.
The purpose of the project was to publish information that could be used
by individuals or groups as an introduction to the rich history of the
Boston area through first hand experience and on-sight visitation. The
scope of the project did not limit its impact to just Boy Scouts. The
documentation is appropriate for all types of youth, school, church and
other groups and clubs as well as individuals.
Trail in and around downtown Boston already existed, so the troop decided
on another historic event and area in the Boston vicinity. Salem was
chosen for its renowned history surrounding the witch hysteria of the late
1600’s. The Witch Trail became the first of nine historic trails to be
documented by the troop, and also gave rise to the name of the group.
Documentation was presented to the Boy Scouts of America National Office.
The National Office declared the Witch Trail to be a “Historic BSA Trail”.
Soon it became
apparent to the troop how well received the Witch Trail was and what an
opportunity existed to come up with additional trails. So over the next
several years the group researched, documented, cleaned and marked eight
other trails that were also declared Historic BSA Trails. NOTE: Hiking
these trails qualifies toward earning the BSA Historic Trails Award. The
Witch Trail Committee first documented the nine trails in and around
Boston in individual pamphlets, but later combined them into a single
book. The book has been updated every few years to take into
consideration such things as landmarks that have been moved or redesigned
or repainted, streets that became one-way or were opened to two-way
traffic or were closed, zip code changes, area code changes, admission
prices, telephone number changes, etc.
Today the Witch
Trail Committee supports itself and its efforts not only through the sale
of the book, but also through sale of embroidered patches and pewter
medals for each of the individual trails. The group also custom designs
and produces other pewter items such as bolo ties, neckerchiefs, belt
buckles, medals, and medallions. The group is always open to a challenge
in designing and producing pewter items for your group.
In the near
future, the Witch Trail Committee plans to document additional trails in
southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.