Pig Farm Road

Pig Farm Road, a Class VI road running approximately 2,500 feet from Merrimack Rd to Colonel Wilkins Rd, is under consideration for conversion from a road to a dedicated trail. This transition aims to enhance the area's safety and usability, aligning with local efforts to improve pedestrian and recreational spaces while managing vehicular access. The conversion of Pig Farm Road from a Class VI road to a dedicated trail presents an opportunity to enhance community infrastructure, promote safety, and preserve the natural beauty of the area. By taking thoughtful steps to involve the community and address legal and maintenance considerations, Amherst can successfully transform this route into a valued community asset.


Nestled between and generally parallel to Holt Rd and Joshua Rd, Pig Farm Road is part of a popular walking and running circuit in Amherst. This route allows residents to safely avoid major roads, providing a tranquil passage through the area.


The proposed conversion of Pig Farm Road into a trail seeks to preserve the road's current recreational use and enhance it by formally designating it as a trail. This change would safeguard the route for pedestrians and cyclists, ensuring continuous access and improving safety by restricting vehicular use, particularly by recreational vehicles which currently damage the path.


Pig Farm Road's current status as a Class VI road means it is minimally maintained and legally open to all traffic, though practically impassable for regular vehicles. The occasional use by recreational vehicles compromises the path's condition, posing safety risks and environmental damage. Formalizing this path as a trail would mitigate these issues, secure the path for non-motorized use, and enhance the local network of safe, accessible routes for walking and running.

What is a Class VI Road?

Class VI roads, like Pig Farm Road, are public ways that have not been maintained by the town for vehicular travel for five consecutive years or more. These roads are often minimally maintained and are not serviced during winter, making them largely impassable for regular vehicles but legally open to all types of traffic. Reclassifying a Class VI road to a trail is not always appropriate, especially considering what function a class class VI road can have. Reclassification can however be advantageous in certain circumstances for trail use as it:

  • Legally restricts vehicular traffic, reducing wear and environmental impact.
  • Enhances safety for pedestrians and cyclists by officially designating the path for non-motorized use.
  • Allows the community to implement improvements such as signage, barriers, and surface treatments tailored to recreational use.


  • Current Road Class: Class VI (minimally maintained, open to all traffic)
  • Length: Approximately 2,500 feet
  • Usage: Popular with walkers and runners; occasionally used by recreational vehicles
  • Proposed Changes: Conversion to a dedicated trail, including potential installation of barriers to prevent unauthorized vehicle access

Special Considerations and Next Steps

  1. Community Consultation
    Engage with local residents and stakeholders to gauge support for the conversion. This includes discussions with neighbors directly affected by the change.
  2. Legal and Regulatory Review
    Work with the town attorney and the Amherst Conservation Commission to ensure that any conversion respects the rights of adjacent landowners and complies with local regulations.
  3. Maintenance Planning
    Determine responsibilities for trail maintenance to ensure long-term viability and upkeep.
  4. Municipal Approval
    Prepare for a presentation to the Board of Selectmen, aiming to include this proposal as a warrant article in the town meeting.
  5. Drafting Article Language
    Develop the language for a warrant article to officially reclassify Pig Farm Road as a trail, ensuring clarity and legal soundness.