Massachusetts hikers stumbled across what they believed to be trip wires on a trail near Leicester. Police investigated and concluded that the trip wires were in fact yellow strands of electric dog fencing put there by the property owner.
But hikers say the strands of fencing are actually quite dangerous. And some of them claim to have tripped while hiking that segment of the Midstate Trail. The 92-mile path in Worcester County cuts across 14 towns.
“According to the Midstate Trail Maintainer Supervisor – the alleged hiker ‘trip wire’ was actually a yellow strand of electric dog fencing lying flat across the trail placed there by the property owner. The property owner added that countless hikers have crossed the fencing without issue,” the Spencer Police Department posted to Facebook on Wednesday.
Hikers Say Strands Are Still Dangerous
Leominster resident Sarah Gates went on a 10-mile hike with a friend along the Midstate Trail. When she reached the area around the Leicester-Spencer town line, she nearly took a fall.
“I tripped, and I looked back,” Gates told Boston 25 News. “I thought I tripped on a branch, and I saw a yellow rope tied between two trees. At first, I kind of didn’t believe what I saw. But then, when I thought about it, I was like, ‘That’s pretty dangerous.’”
Gates said her friend found another piece of rope that was tied a few inches off the ground between two trees, about 15 to 20 feet from the first one.
They posted about their find on Facebook, where fellow users then suggested the police set up cameras along the trail. Some residents said they are now afraid to hike the trail lest they trip over the strands of fencing tied between trees several inches in the air.
But Edward Faron, a Midstate Trail supervisor, downplayed the threat to hikers. He said he went to a property near Leicester by where Gates and her friend had discovered the strands.
“What I was shown were a couple of yellow strands of electric dog fencing keeping the family pup from running off, one strand placed across where the hiking trail crosses into the woods through her yard and a second strand on the lawn closer to Bond Street,” he told the Telegram & Gazette.
The only threats on that trail, Faron said, are nests of yellow jackets and ticks bearing Lyme disease.
The Midstate Trail dates back to the 1970s. Since then, volunteers have kept the 30 trail sections marked and clear of debris.