2013 Fall Newsletter - Norwalk River Valley Trail

2013 Fall Newsletter

The NRVT has been moving forward since our Spring newsletter. For starters, you may have noticed our new logo. And please read below about the progress each of the towns has been making. It ranges from the hard labor of trail clearing, through scouting out routes, to fundraising and community outreach.

It is especially satisfying to make progress towards adding to the sections of NRVT that already exist.  Generous donations from our local community will allow work on the east side of the "Wilton Loop" to begin this year, and there has been further progress towards linking up sections of trail in Norwalk.


And that bicycle we raffled this summer? Congratulations to Tim Mitchell of Redding on winning a Cannondale Adventure 4!


Community Donations


Recent donations are keeping the NRVT on track. Our heartfelt thanks to the donors!


A $125,000 "challenge grant" from the Betsy and Jesse Fink Foundation aims to act as a catalyst for more contributions towards the estimated $1.6m needed to build the east side of the "Wilton Loop".  Read more in the Wilton Bulletin. A $50,000 donation was made by the Jansen Family.


Meanwhile, the Wilton Family Y stepped in with $5,000 to boost the NRVT's operational funds.  The donation was in turn made possible by a grant the Y received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Center to Combat Childhood Obesity. Bob McDowell, Wilton Y Director, said "Construction of the Trail will encourage people of all ages to increase their physical activity by walking, biking or strolling through a scenic area of town".  See the Wilton Bulletin.


People interested in contributing to the construction of the NRVT Wilton Center Loop, or the project as a whole, can send a tax-deductible contribution to "The Friends of the NRVT" P.O. Box 174, Georgetown, CT 06829. Questions can be directed to Patricia Sesto, 203-563-0180 or info@nrvt-trail.com.


Blazing Trail - Norwalk: A step closer to bridging the "missing link"


In May, NRVT volunteers cleared trail beside the Norwalk River between Union Park and New Canaan Avenue ( reported in The Hour), and in June led the public on a National Trails Day walk along this "missing link". The next step was a Department of Public Works public meeting in July to gather input for the section's design. The great news for the NRVT is that DPW has funds in place for this work.


Last year, the DPW significantly improved foot and cycle access to the NRVT's southern trailhead by creating a shared roadway on Calf Pasture Beach Road. The project included the re-stripping and narrowing of lanes, sharrows and shared roadway signs. 


Blazing Trail - Wilton: Trail to see and feel


Thanks to the generous donations reported above, Wilton can now turn to actual trail construction - a 0.5-mile demonstration section for the community to see and feel. The section will run east of Route 7 from the Wolfpit intersection to Raymond Lane.  Work is expected to begin later this year, and take about six weeks to complete. It will be the first part of the east side "Loop",  which will eventually run all the way to Pimpewaug Road.


Blazing Trail - Ridgefield: Exploring the Laurel Lane parcel


Ridgefield volunteers, along with their Danbury and Redding colleagues, have been out in the field exploring the Laurel Lane open space.  This hilly and rocky town property - south of the paved portion of Laurel Lane - holds the key to connecting the towns by the NRVT. Several days of exploration yielded - and flagged - a useable route through to the Redding Land Trust property next to Olmstead Road.  This proposed route is now ready for further study by local trail experts and a professional trail building group.  Once a route has been chosen it will lend itself to a great volunteer project!


Blazing Trail - Redding: Wielding chain saws and making friends


The buzz of chain saws still echoes in the woods after volunteers Kent Stivers, Stuart Green, Dave Pattee and Jason Howard cleared old windfall on the proposed NRVT route from Fire Hill Road to Picketts Ridge Road. Farther up the trail, reconnaissance hikes with Ridgefield and Danbury volunteers continued as we scout out a route near where the towns meet.


We made new friends in town by hosting an NRVT table at one of the popular Concerts on the Green; and by contacting the Redding Land Trust about routing the trail through two of its open spaces. On a hike of 10 Farm Ridge Ct with Laurie Heiss of the Board of Trustees we received very positive feedback, and a sense that the proximity of the NRVT to RLT spaces would be a positive influence in an area long scarred by illegal ATV use.


If you enjoy bushwhacking or would like more information on Redding NRVT activities please contact Stuart Green at (203) 938-4020 or shgreen@optonline.net.


Blazing Trail - Danbury: Routing endorsement


When the NRVT Steering Committee presented Mayor Mark Boughton with alternative routing options through the town he asked Kozuchowski Environmental Consulting LLC to review them. In September, Jack Kozuchowski sent the Mayor his report.  Acknowledging the visionary concept of the NRVT to create "one of the premier greenways of Connecticut and New England", Kozuchowski endorsed a route that would see the NRVT join with the existing Ives Trail for much of its course through Danbury. At the southwest end of town the NRVT would use Starr's Plain Road - with safety improvements - to meet the Redding and Ridgefield sections. This alternative is still a recommendation, and could be temporary if a boardwalk route in the Route 7 corridor proves feasible.  

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