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What is the Bourne Rail Trail Project?

The proposed Bourne Rail Trail/Shining Sea Bikeway Extension project will create a 6.5-mile multi-use path in Bourne connecting the Cape Cod Canal Recreation Path with the Shining Sea Bikeway. Completing the project would create approximately 24 miles of uninterrupted trail on the Upper Cape running from Sandwich to Woods Hole.

Where would the Bourne Rail Trail be located if it is built?

The proposed Bourne Rail Trail/Shining Sea Bikeway Extension would be developed on land that is owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The land, known as the Falmouth Secondary Line, has historically been used as a railroad corridor. The Bourne Rail Trail/Shining Sea Bikeway Extension would make this publicly owned land available for use by the public and connect two existing recreation paths.

What is the status of the Cape Cod Commission’s Feasibility Study?

The Cape Cod Commission completed their feasibility study in the spring of 2017. The study provided three options with rough cost estimates for completing the project. Importantly, the Commission’s study recommended that the project move forward to the next phase of planning and design.

When will construction on the trail begin?

The project is still in its preliminary stages and more planning and engineering work needs to be done before it can move forward. In the Spring of 2018, the Town of Bourne filed a Project Need Form with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s District 5 Office. That filing will lead to formal recognition of the Bourne Rail Trail project by MassDot and pave the way for planning and design. This is a huge step towards making the trail a reality!

How can I support the project?

Signing up for the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail email updates, attending public meetings, and contacting your Selectmen and state representative/senator to let them know that you support the project are all great ways to help move the project along. The widespread public support that the project has received has been absolutely critical.

Does the Town of Bourne support the project?

The Town of Bourne Selectmen have demonstrated significant interest and consistent support for the project to date, including the establishment in 2017 of a town administrator’s committee to advise the town on moving the project forward.  

Who will pay for the Bourne Rail Trail when it is built?

Funding for the project will likely come from a combination of state and federal transportation sources. Local funding, through the Community Preservation Act, could also be used to help in the planning and design phase and perhaps beyond. It is also likely that support from the public will be solicited to make the trail a reality as soon as possible.

Who are the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail and can I donate?

The Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail is a 501-(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the development of a rail trail in Bourne. To show support  to the project and sign up for news and updates, please visit To donate, please visit All contributions, large or small, will be gladly accepted and well used to help make this project a reality.