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.

NRVT Trail Log
We hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Perhaps getting outdoors for a while was part of it, maybe even on our trail - your trail.
 
At the NRVT, this time of year reminds us again what we have to be grateful for. We like to build trail, the kind that families and friends of all ages can enjoy together. And although our trail is built of gravel or asphalt, it is people who make it happen. We would like to thank everyone who has helped to take the NRVT forward - our individual and corporate donors; our volunteers; our supporters in government; our local media; the trail-users whose enthusiasm keeps us going ...          
 
In 2015, people came together in our five towns to build new trail, or work toward making it happen in the near future. You can read more about this progress is our town updates below.
 
One project in particular that we look forward to advancing in 2016 is the construction of trail from Grist Mill Road in Norwalk to Wolfpit Road in Wilton. The State has offered a substantial grant toward construction of this section, funds that are not transferable to other NRVT projects. The next step toward grasping this tremendous opportunity is for the City of Norwalk and Town of Wilton to define how they will work together to meet the terms of the grant. Stand by for updates.
 
Although we hope to make progress south of Wolfpit Road in Wilton with help from our state and local governments, progress on the Wilton Loop and in Redding (see town updates for our 2016 targets) will again depend on your generosity. Please visit our Donate page to contribute.

Spring on the NRVT in Norwalk
Blazing Trail: Norwalk
 
Progress continues on the "Missing Link", the section of trail that will connect Union Park to New Canaan Avenue, and so create 2.5 miles of continuous, traffic-free NRVT from the Maritime Aquarium to Broad Street. A contract for design and engineering of the section has been signed with Stantec Inc. Test boring and surveying are underway. Plans for the Missing Link will be presented for public review next spring. Construction will be funded by a ConnDOT grant and a match grant from the City of Norwalk.
 
The NRVT's route south to Calf Pasture Beach will use bike lanes and shared road. The first segment - the Stroffolino bridge and Rte 136 beside Veterans Park - will be re-striped with an NRVT/Harbor Loop Trail bike lane this fall. Further segments will be marked in 2016.
 
The NRVT plans to install informational and directional signs on our existing trail this coming spring, including a "maps and highlights" board at the Maritime Aquarium for the entire planned Norwalk-to-Danbury trail. Watch out for an invitation to help erect the signs once warm weather returns. It will be our "Signs of the Times" party!

Hikers check out Redding's first planned section of NRVT (Photo John McCleary)
Blazing Trail: Redding

Redding is gearing up to build trail! In October, we presented our Phase I Trail Layout and Design Document to the Selectmen, and it was well received. The document details the proposed construction of NRVT from Picketts Ridge Road south to Fire Hill Road through beautiful mixed-hardwood forest on land owned by ConnDOT. Our 20-minute presentation swelled into a week and a half of publicity as articles ensued in the Redding Pilot, Danbury News-Times, and Hello Redding. We made the front page of the News-Times! Finally, with help from Cycling Sports Group, we finalized a draft of a Redding-specific NRVT brochure.
 
The NRVT was among the worthy causes that benefited from "The Great Turkey Escape" run. Our thanks to John McCleary and all the runners and sponsors for generating tremendous community spirit. Please join us in recreating that spirit to make the NRVT in Redding a reality!

Hikers cross a stream on a proposed NRVT section in Danbury/Ridgefield.
Blazing Trail: Ridgefield and Danbury

There is no shortage of enthusiasm for trails in Ridgefield. A recent survey about the future of the Schlumberger property saw town respondents consistently rank foot and bike trails first and second among potential uses.
  
Harnessing this enthusiasm, the Town, supported by the NRVT and LINC, are close to finalizing a contract with Eversource to allow bikes on the Rail Trail at the Town's discretion. The Rail Trail runs from downtown to Branchville, where it will eventually meet the NRVT. The contract is expected to go before the Board of Selectmen in January. Once approved, trail upgrades required to support bikes can be defined.
  
Our Ridgefield and Danbury teams have been busy raising public awareness of the NRVT's plans. In May, volunteers held a work day along a proposed mile-long section of the NRVT south of Laurel Lane in Ridgefield. In June, on CT Trails Weekend, this cleaned-up section was part of a hike led by NRVT volunteers from the Danbury line to Martin Park.
  
Our Ridgefield team recently held an implementation meeting, successfully bringing some new faces to the table. The meeting worked on plans to publicize the trail in Ridgefield and set a course toward trail construction, capitalizing particularly on Redding's plans to bring the NRVT to the town line at Fire Hill Road. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact us via volunteer@NRVT-Trail.com.

Our beautiful, sturdy kiosk under construction at the Route 7 trailhead
Blazing Trail: Wilton

Following the successful construction this summer of another 0.5 miles of the east-side "Wilton Loop", we are now turning our attention to two more Loop segments: (1) linking the east side to Wilton Center via sidewalk, bike lanes, and a new 600-foot trail on the south side of Horseshoe Pond; and (2) taking the east-side Loop up to Skunk Lane.
 
The east-side project involves a 300-foot boardwalk over wetlands and a further 0.5 miles of trail. Our goal is to raise $350,000 to complete this section. Please help us with whatever you can. An anonymous supporter has made a challenge grant, matching each donation up to $55,000. So your contribution will be immediately doubled!    
 
This year, the east-side Loop brought out a lot of community spirit - on our summer and fall work days, in the kindness shown to our construction crew by trail neighbors, in conversations at town events. And we would particularly like to thank Caleb Worley and his helpers for our information kiosk at the Rte 7-Wolfpit Road trailhead. The sturdy kiosk was Caleb's Eagle Scout project.

www.nrvt-trail.com