2014 Fall Newsletter - Norwalk River Valley Trail

2014 Fall Newsletter

Welcome to our Fall Newsletter. The NRVT has had a productive spring and summer, and we look forward to building on that momentum over the coming months. Please read on to see what we have been up to, and where - with your continuing help - we are heading next!


Trail Log

Welcome to our Fall Newsletter. The NRVT has had a productive spring and summer, and we look forward to building on that momentum over the coming months. Please read on to see what we have been up to, and where - with your continuing help - we are heading next!

SAVE THE DATE! We are officially opening a new section of the east-side "Wilton Loop" on Saturday October 18th. Come out and enjoy a gentle stroll through fall woods to the ribbon-cutting site, and show your support for the NRVT at the same time. Please meet us at 10 a.m. at the commuter Park & Ride just north of Orem's Diner on Route 7 in Wilton. Parking is available at the same location. Visit our website for up-to-date event information.

FACEBOOK PHOTO CONTEST: To celebrate our new trail, Outdoor Sports Center will award a $250 gift certificate for the most "liked" photograph taken on the NRVT's east-side Wilton Loop (Route 7 to Sharp Hill Road). Just post your picture by 6 p.m. on Friday October 17th, tagging Norwalk River Valley Trail. Full contest rules.

The completion of the new section of trail follows hard on the heels of the opening of the NRVT "demo trail" on April 26th. That event was marked by a ribbon-cutting too, and a morning of family fun on the trail. Read more about it in The Daily Voice

April 26th eventPICTURE - Trying out new trail at our April 26th opening event.


The public voted with its feet - and brawn - on National Trails Day (June 7th) by hiking the NRVT - and building it too! In Norwalk, our volunteers led a hike from Mathews Park to Deering Pond on existing and proposed NRVT sections. Meanwhile, in Wilton, trail supporters cleared brush between Raymond Lane and Sharp Hill Road to get work on our newest section off to a flying start. 

Trails Day VolunteersPICTURE - Trails Day Volunteers get their instructions in Wilton.


New "Wilton Loop" Section 

As The Wilton Bulletin kindly pointed out, we waited "barely a month" after the opening of the "demo trail" to start work on the next section of the east-side "Wilton Loop". This new section - to be officially opened on October 18th - runs 0.6 miles from Raymond Lane to Sharp Hill Road. 

The new trail curves gently in the shade of hardwoods, passing stands of pine, wetlands and tumbledown stone walls. Near Raymond Lane, there is a 30-foot bridge across an intermittent brook. The last boards of black locust wood are now being nailed into place, just in time for our ribbon-cutting.  

The bridge at Raymond LanePICTURE - The bridge at Raymond Lane under construction in September.


None of this would have been possible without our donors. The NRVT is overwhelmingly funded by private contributions, so our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has made the newest trail a reality. We list here our biggest contributors,  beginning with the challenge grant from Cliff and Norma Fox. 


John and Shelley Dempsey

Tracy and John Flannery

The Coca Cola Foundation

Richard Dineen

Chris and Catherine Stroup

Wilton Go Green

Greg and Gina Jansen

Ed Romer

Woodson and Christina Duncan

Gregory and Carolyn Wheeler


We will not let up after October 18th. An estimated $1.6m is needed to complete the east-side loop to Pimpewaug Road, the Wilton Family Y, and  Cannondale Village. The continued involvement of our communities will be essential.


Blazing Trail - Norwalk: Progress Behind the Scenes

 Norwalk is making important progress on two key sections of trail: 

  1. Union Park to New Canaan Avenue: Following a rigorous Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process this summer,  the City has selected an outside resource to assist in the design of the "Missing Link". An announcement will be made shortly. The design work will be funded by a federal grant to the Norwalk Transit District. Once this trail section is complete (scheduled for 2016) trail users will be able to make the 5-mile roundtrip from the Maritime Aquarium to Deering Pond (just north of Broad Street) on paved, 10-foot wide trail. 
  2. Broad Street to Wolfpit Road (Wilton): The NRVT is taking steps to secure a Recreational Trails Grant to fund the preparation of construction documents for this vital section. It lies wholly within the Super 7 right-of-way and will likely follow the CL&P maintenance road.  In order to secure the grant, we must first conduct an archeological study.  We thank an anonymous donor for their $7,500 contribution to this study.


Blazing Trail - Wilton: Don't Forget the West 

Although our new east-side trail is not yet officially open, we are delighted that walkers and bike riders are negotiating the dry brook in considerable numbers to use it anyway. Keep it up! We'll have that bridge finished in no time. 

The west-side of the loop is coming alive too. Yankee Gas and the town are committed to building trail as they repair their work areas after the gas line installation. This will in effect renew the riverside NRVT section from Center Street (Portofino) to School Road through the Merwin Meadows and Lovers Lane open space. Thank you Yankee Gas and Wilton DPW! This section will be further enhanced when the town builds a bridge to the Metro-North station, hopefully by the spring of 2016.  

The NRVT near Merwin MeadowsPICTURE - The NRVT near Merwin Meadows, Wilton.


Blazing Trail - Ridgefield: New Route

We have revised the proposed route of the northernmost leg of the town's NRVT. The original route was encumbered by a rocky, cliff-like section, which would have made a broad, multiuse trail difficult to build. The new proposal envisages a gentle path utilizing existing trail, and passing entirely over town open space from Laurel Lane to the Martin Park parking area. It will yield views of Great Pond along the way, and be easily accessed by residents of the Regency condominium complex. We can now start to focus on financing this section. On National Public Lands Day, September 27th, volunteers did a first clearing of brush and rocks along the new route to get things moving. 

New northern Ridgefield routeMAP - New northern Ridgefield route in red 


Blazing Trail - Redding: Reaching Out


In Redding, we have been reaching out to the community, and scouting out our route through town as well. 

In May, we co-hosted (with Redding Trail Tenders) an information table at Redding Garden Club's well-trafficked plant sale. We were back in action - warmed by fine weather and our favorite chili - for Georgetown Day in June, when we talked alternative transportation with Congressman Jim Himes when he stopped by our booth. Many thanks for the donations received that day!  

Our focus for trail construction is the state parcel between Fire Hill and Picketts Ridge roads. We took advantage of an April bushwhack across the land to reach out to neighbors,  through a formal mailing and with chance encounters along the way.  We later reached out to CT DOT about cleaning up illicit tire dumps on the land, and are looking forward to their help. In August, we returned to the parcel with Josh Ryan, principal at Timber & Stone LLC,  the Vermont trail designer that has built the NRVT in Wilton. We look forward to his estimate to lay out the trail and compile construction documents. 

State land between Fire Hill and Picketts RidgePICTURE - State land between Fire Hill and Picketts Ridge roads, Redding


Blazing Trail - Danbury: Trail Etiquette


Pending the firming up of the NRVT's route in Redding and Ridgefield, our Danbury team has been active in proposing etiquette and rules for our entire trail. It is a surprisingly complex task, requiring balance among the needs of different types of user, and judgment about when to spell rules out and when to hope common sense will prevail unaided.      

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