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Partnership to fund snow removal along Charles River paths

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  January 12, 2011 09:00 AM

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charlessnowrun.jpg

(Michele McDonald/ Boston Globe file)

The snow removal partnership will likely be especially welcomed by those who run along the Charles wearing minimal shoes that mimic barefoot running, like Harvard professor Daniel E. Lieberman pictured here on the river's paths in Cambridge last winter.

A Boston-based footwear manufacturer has renewed a public-private initiative it began last year to help provide city residents a place to run, walk and jog outdoors throughout winter without soaking their kicks in snow.

New Balance will fund snow removal efforts this winter along 17 miles of Charles River basin pathways used by hundreds of people daily, according to the state’s conservation department which oversees the paths.

The renewed partnership will likely make its impact felt less than a week after its announcement as a nor’easter is projected to drop about a foot of snow on Boston beginning Tuesday night.

Removing snow from the paths each winter costs, on average, around $10,000 – the amount New Balance provided to the Department of Conservation and Recreation a year ago which allowed for funding typically allocated for snow clearing to be used elsewhere, said department spokeswoman Wendy Fox. This year, the athletic shoe maker doubled its funding to $20,000.

“With the extra money, the agency has been able to invest in new snow-clearing equipment to ensure this work can be done well into the future,” Fox said in an e-mail Monday. “This is a wonderful partnership for DCR and the agency is very grateful to New Balance for their generosity.”

Following normal procedure, snow removal on the paths that extend from the Museum of Science area in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown will be performed by DCR within 24 hours of each snowstorm’s end, officials said.

Because the route runs in close proximity to the river bank, limited salting and sanding can be done; runners are urged to use caution, said a press release from New Balance.

“With DCR’s budget about 10 percent less this fiscal year than last, we need to continue finding new ways to engage public, private, and nonprofit partners to help us provide healthy and safe outdoor recreation opportunities for Massachusetts residents and visitors,” Jack Murray, DCR’s acting commissioner, said in the release.

Additionally, the shoe company headquartered in Brighton will host wintertime events to interact with area athletes along the path, including showcasing new products, offering winter running tips, and hosting giveaways.

“With so many athletes training for the Boston Marathon, outdoor recreation is vital this time of year,” said New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini in the release. “Our goal is to continue to enable area fitness enthusiasts the option of working out safely along the Charles River.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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