Norwalk River Valley Trail System
On October 15, 2000, Rudy Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield, cut orange surveyor's tape to open the first leg of the Norwalk River Valley Trails System. This portion traversed trails on new and existing open-space lands owned by the towns of Redding and Ridgefield and the State of Connecticut.
Guided by the new trail blaze of white with a vertical blue line down the middle, Lillian Willis, NRWA President, led a large group of hikers along this retrofitted route that features woodlands, mill ponds, streams, old dirt roads, and a remarkable old stone causeway through wetlands.
Midway, participants were met by Eagle Scout Nick Chizzonite of Ridgefield, who explained how he created a section of the trail on open space at the junction of Route 7 and Great Pond Road in Ridgefield. Other sections were created by a Student Conservation Intern, Town of Ridgefield summer workers, and Eagle Scout Spencer Sherman and Girl Scout Silver Awardee Caitlin Helgesen - both of Ridgefield.
Starting at Aldrich Park in Ridgefield, the trail has Redding sections, goes back into Ridgefield along old dirt roads lined with stone walls, and ends presently at the River Study Site at Simpaug Turnpike and Route 7. Plans are afoot to have the trail extend farther south and hook up to other parcels.
Another long section from Route 33, South Main Street in Ridgefield, into Wilton and back into Ridgefield, ending near the Weir Farm National Historic Site, was previewed in two spring 2001 hikes.
In spring 2002 a Ridgefield leg that incorporated three open spaces and the refurbished CL&P railroad path was also previewed. That trail is the subject of another Eagle Scout project.
NRWA is working on extending this interlocking trail system and on creating a map that will clarify locations and parking areas for this system, which includes a connected parks tour in Norwalk. In the meantime, additional guided hikes along this system are listed in our Events Calendar.
Eagle Scout Projects Improve Trail System
Three magnificent structures have been completed in the watershed on land under the jurisdiction of the Ridgefield Conservation Commission, which paid for all supplies. Ian Lipsitz built a 46' x 30" raised walkway that connects Town land with land owned by the National Park Service at the Weir Farm National Historic Site. DJ Wolff built two bridges, 26' x 36" and 29' x 36", to replace lighter structures at Aldrich Park, the top end of the Norwalk River Valley Trail System. Celebratory hikes to inaugurate all three structures took place in January 2003.
Meanwhile, three Scouts have volunteered for new watershed projects. One will construct a bridge at the Georgetown Park NRWA is creating with four other partners (Town of Redding, Redding Garden Club, Georgetown Village Restoration, Inc., and Overbrook Associates) at the junction of routes 107 and 57 in Georgetown under a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star Grant to NRWA. Another Scout will extend an existing trail, install erosion bars, and mark the old rail line and two adjacent Town of Ridgefield open spaces with the NRWA trail blaze. Subject to secure easements, the third Boy Scout will construct the missing off-road link in the trail from Route 33 in Ridgefield through Wilton and back into Ridgefield at Weir Farm.
Fat Bike on a Mini Cooper Countryman
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