Norwalk Valley River Trail

November 13, 2013

We took significant step forward on the Norwalk Valley River Trail this month.

I am proud to share with you the groundbreaking ceremony that took place on the trail in Wilton was a huge success. Joining me was Rep. Gail Lavielle, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Redding First Selectman, Natalie Ketcham, Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan, Wilton Conservation Director, Pat Sesto and all the wonderful volunteers and organizers who have worked so hard on this environmental project.

I am also extremely grateful for the support given to me by fellow legislators in Hartford. With their vote, I was able to lift restrictions on state statues that prohibited any use other than a super highway for this valuable regional asset, one of the largest tracks of wetlands in the state. This pivotal change allowed the project to move forward.

This has been a dream in the making since the 1990s. What is particularly beneficial is that in building this trail a great deal of consideration was given to the needs and desires of the people who live here.

The proposed trail would stretch for approximately 38-mile multi-purpose route from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury. It will incorporate existing trails in Norwalk, Ridgefield and Wilton, along with new segments in Redding, where possible.

The first continuous mile of the trail, beginning at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, has already been completed and many enjoy using it today. The demonstration trail is the first new trail in several years. It will run from Route 7 to Raymond Lane, and will be the first section of the east-side “Wilton Loop.”

What is significant is that this trail will allow people in the five Norwalk River Valley Trail communities a chance to experience what the finished product will feel like – a 10-foot-wide packed cinder trail that is ideal for biking, walking, running and wheelchair access.

Once finished, the demonstration trail, will also include155 feet of boardwalk. It is expected to take nearly two months to complete depending on the weather.

The demonstration trail was made possible by donations from the community including a $125,000 “challenge grant” from Betsy and Jesse Fink and a $50,000 contribution from the Jansen Family. The rest of the east-side Wilton Loop up to Pimpewaug Road is expected to be finished next year.

As someone who has been involved in this project from the beginning, I understand what an extraordinary asset this greenway would be, and the unanimous support it has from town leaders and residents in the region. I thank the two state agencies who have been instrumental in making this happen, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy and the Environment.

This trail will not only allow for alternative commuting but also for recreation and education opportunities for our school children. It will also be a great refuge for our hurried and technology driven lifestyle that give us less time to enjoy our state’s breathtakingly beautify natural surroundings.

People come to live in Connecticut, in part for its natural beauty and this trail will be an important way to them to utilize and enjoy preserve the state’s valuable environmental assets.