Five Towns - One Vision
 
The Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) project aims to build 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding on the way.

TRAIL LOG
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Charlie Taney, our new Executive Director, finds that after six weeks on the job his impressions fall into three areas.
"First, what the NRVT has accomplished as an all-volunteer organization is truly impressive. A significant portion of the Wilton Trail has been built and Norwalk has established the Trail from the Maritime Aquarium to Union Park. Second, it's exciting to see the NRVT on the verge of going to the 'next level'. Over five miles of new Trail are designed, permitted, and funded (or are about to be funded), in Redding, Wilton, and Norwalk. As these additional trails come on line, the NRVT will gain 'critical mass', accelerating momentum toward realizing the dream of a 38-mile trail from Norwalk to Danbury. Third, the NRVT has built a great team. Everyone I've met, from the Steering Committee, to volunteers, to City officials in all the towns, has been welcoming, willing to help and really enthusiastic about the future. I'm very excited about the opportunity to help make the dream of the NRVT a reality across the five towns. It's great to be here."
 
2017'S HEADY POSSIBILITIES 
Patricia Sesto, our Chairman, looks forward to what our "fine alliance" can achieve this year.
"2017 is poised to be a fabulous year, and it is all due to the dedication of many remarkable volunteers, generous residents of our towns, and the good fortune to have been the recipient of substantial grants. I must also acknowledge our municipalities and state agencies who have provided outstanding assistance, and also the extraordinary working relationship we have with our trail builders, Timber & Stone LLC. We are all part of an alliance, bringing to our endeavor the skills and assets needed to build more Trail! This fine alliance will see to it that 2017 is a year of achievement. In the following town updates you will see the full potential the year holds. It is pretty heady to think about the possibilities, and I am grateful we have been able to welcome Charlie Taney to help make it happen. Thank you to all who have played a part in getting us to where we are and where we are going to be. If you are as enthusiastic about the possibilities as we are, your donations are always gratefully received, and put to good use."
 
HELP!
Could you be our Head of Communications?
The NRVT team always needs and welcomes volunteers to pitch in on everything from trail maintenance to fundraising. Right now, we particularly need help with our communications (media relations, newsletters, website management, etc.). If you can help - either as our Head of Communications or an occasional contributor - please reach out to us at volunteer@nrvt-trail.com.        
 
LISA BOGAN
In September, we mourned the passing of Lisa Bogan who served on our Steering Committee for five years, giving generously of her knowledge and enthusiasm. We will be reminded of Lisa as the Trail grows in length and popularity. 

The NRVT near Union Park in Norwalk
BLAZING TRAIL: NORWALK
2016 was a year of essential planning and design work. In 2017, we expect to get shovels in the ground!

Design work for the "Missing Link" is nearing completion, and plans will soon be put to the public. We are hopeful that construction will begin this year. The Missing Link will connect the already completed NRVT segments between the Maritime Aquarium and Union Park, and between New Canaan Avenue and Broad Street, giving the City over 3 miles of paved off-road trail.
 
We secured an impressive state grant of $1.2 million to construct trail from Grist Mill Road to Wolfpit Road in Wilton. Design work is underway. A condition of the grant requires the NRVT to raise 20% of its value in matching funds. Our Norwalk and Wilton teams will be working in both communities to generate support for this public-private partnership and key Trail segment.
 
With leadership from the City's DPW, grant applications were submitted for two additional Trail segments. These segments would connect Broad Street to Grist Mill Road, completing the NRVT from the Aquarium to the Wilton line. 
 
While we advance the Trail, we won't forget our existing sections. We plan  to mark them out with new directional signage, mile-markers, and map & informational tablets. 
Part of the planned Redding Mile
BLAZING TRAIL: REDDING
Stuart Green reports a flurry of activity in Redding!
We now have three grant applications pending to help build the "Redding Mile", the planned NRVT section from Picketts Ridge Road south to Fire Hill Road. The applications were made to the Campfire Conservation Fund; the state Transportation Alternative Program (TAP); and a state Recreational Trails Grant. Three is the charm, so cross your fingers! Our thanks to the NRVT's Pat Sesto and Charlie Taney,  and Redding First Selectman, Julia Pemberton for pulling us together to meet the deadlines.
 
A highlight of Thanksgiving in Redding is The Great Turkey Escape 5K road race.  The Redding Running Club and John McLeary have created a great community event, and are a fund raising phenomenon. Our thanks for their donation and firm support of the NRVT. By way of reciprocity, NRVT volunteers David Pattee and Jason Howard stuffed the runners' goodie bags and made sure they were equipped with gloves!
 
Our annual appeal mailing topped 300 recipients this year! Thanks and kudos to Kent Stivers and Susan Green for the review and editing, and to Alice Smith at Town Hall for the printing. Our community's support is gratifying, exemplified by a recent major gift from the Redding Garden Club.
Wilton NRVT Stewards at work
BLAZING TRAIL: WILTON
Growing and maintaining the east-side "Wilton Loop".
Everyone familiar with the east-side Loop knows how it terminates at an orange safety fence. Until recently, "helical anchors" to support a boardwalk across wetland could be seen beyond the safety fence. Now, primarily thanks to a
Wilton Woman's Club "FUNdraiser" in April, the helical anchors are covered with timber framing, and we are hopeful that the 200-foot boardwalk will be completed early in the New Year (it depends on timber supplies and good weather). A length of new trail will connect the boardwalk to Twin Oak Lane, opening up new walking, running, and biking circuits for our trail users.      

The popularity of the Loop has exceeded all expectations, and 2016 saw a number of improvements to keep the Trail accessible, safe, and tidy. In May, push-button warning lights were installed where the NRVT crosses Sharp Hill Road. In November, we opened an eight-car parking lot on Autumn Ridge Drive to ease roadside congestion. By the end of summer, you could not help but notice how Mother Nature was encroaching on our Trail, and we responded with the Wilton NRVT Stewards group. Most weekends since, the team has been out trimming, pulling, and leaf-blowing. For 2017, the Stewards aim to create a comprehensive maintenance plan. Join the Stewards on Facebook ("Wilton NRVT Stewards" group) or write to us at volunteer@nrvt-trail.com .
Walking a proposed NRVT section in Danbury/Ridgefield.
BLAZING TRAIL: RIDGEFIELD & DANBURY
We explore a route into Danbury and support a multi-use Rail Trail.

The NRVT is likely to leave Ridgefield for Danbury via proposed trail between Martin Park/Great Pond and Laurel Lane. Our volunteers have cleared this section, and guided public hikes along it. Where the Trail will then go in Danbury remains a subject of exploration and discussion. This year, Timber & Stone LLC, our trail designers and builders, explored the area between Laurel Lane and West Starrs Plain Road to assess the requirement for boardwalks across wetland. Meanwhile, in Ridgefield, we continued to support bike use of the Rail Trail. The Rail Trail connects downtown to Branchville, where we hope it will eventually meet the NRVT. The move to a multi-use Rail Trail requires a contract between Eversource and the Town. Although a contract was finalized for public discussion, the Board of Selectmen did not vote on it, and progress has stalled. Read all about it in the Ridgefield Press.     
www.nrvt-trail.com