2009 Connecticut Trails Day

Today was National Trails Day and Connecticut Trails Day. Connecticut leads the nation with 130 official Trails Day events. The Connecticut Forest & Park Association, of which I am a Director, is the statewide coordinator of Trails Day. Our organization is the oldest and most respected non-profit conservation organization in Connecticut.

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Trails Day is an awesome celebration of our connection with nature. Debbie, Shepard, and I attended an 8:00 A.M. event at the Bolton Heritage Farm (Rose Farm) with  20 other hikers and outdoors lovers. We walked to the farm from our home, which is conveniently adjacent to both the farm and the Hop River Linear Park (Rail Trail). It isn’t a coincidence that the Livingston Family lives in the middle of a great trail network. The Heritage Farm event was sponsored by the Bolton Conservation Commission. We got a chance to hear from two excellent speakers. Bolton Town Historian, Hans DePold, spoke about the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, and its recent National Historic Trail designation. The Bolton Heritage Farm was the site of a famous French encampment during the Revolutionary War. 

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Our second speaker was Matt “Twig” Largess, a noted forester, arborest, and self described, “tree hugger.” Twig has participated in Bolton events in the past. He was very entertaining in his signature orange vest. He hails from Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has made a name for himself hunting down great tree specimens in the Northeast Forests. He talks of the days before people inhabited North America when a squirrel could jump on a tree on the eastern seaboard and go to the Mississippi River without leaving the tree canopy. The trees stretched across the country and they were giants. It was a Trails Day treat to hear from Twig. He taught the hikers how to identify trees as they walked from the farm to Freja Park in Bolton Notch on their eight mile round trip journey. 

We cut out early, but Shep and I returned to the Rail Trail and Freja for the second Bolton hike at 1:00 P.M. This event was shorter (2 miles) but much larger because it was part of The Great Park Pursuit, a No Child Left Inside program run by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. There were more than 100 people at this event, including many young families. Rod Parlee of the Bolton Conservation Commission, and Hans DePold, were the hike leaders again. Twig reprised his act, complete with tape measure in hand, and the group hiked to a recently rediscovered cave in Bolton Notch. Shep and I had ridden the Rail Trail on bicycle, so we just went to present on behalf of CFPA before returning home. 

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It was a great Trails Day.

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