CFPA Open House & Highlawn Forest Dedication + Trails Day

This afternoon, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association hosted a fantastic open house at its headquarters in Rockfall, Connecticut. A host of dignitaries and fellow conservation oriented non-profits paid tribute to the work of CFPA’s volunteers and staff.

With 2012 National Trails Day (and Connecticut Trails Day) tomorrow and Sunday, it was a fitting time for the Highlawn Forest Dedication and ribbon cutting. CFPA’s staff, directors (including me), and members were joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Greg Miller, the president of the American Hiking Society, Dan Esty, Commissioner of CT DEEP; and John Judge, the president of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Also joining us were the Executive Director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the head of Connecticut’s tourism council, and the regional director of the National Park Service.

The kind folks from REI and EMS gave outdoor gear demonstrations. There were trails proclamations from Governor Malloy, and a national award was given from the American Hiking Society to both Connecticut and the CFPA. CFPA founded and maintains our state’s 825 mile Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails system.

Eric Hammerling, CFPA’s Executive Director, was master of ceremonies. Senator Blumenthal spoke about the importance of nature. Commissioner Esty touted Connecticut’s trail assets. Greg Miller said that Connecticut led all 50 states in the number of Trails Day events hosted, with 201 planned for this weekend and more than 1,000 total since 2007.

My spouse, and favorite trail runner, Debbie Livingston, represented our favorite running club, the Shenipsit Striders. She presented a $1,000 donation from the proceeds of the race that she directs, the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race. The Shenipsit Striders are proud to support CFPA, an organization that maintains many of the trails that trail runners enjoy.

Rain is in the forecast, but I’m sure it won’t dampen the spirits of this coming weekend’s trail adventurers. There is no doubt in my mind that Connecticut has the best public/private trails partnerships, best trail network, and best trail advocates in the nation. Several of the speakers remarked that more people, especially youth, need to experience the trails. In the Livingston household, we are doing our part to introduce a new generation of trail users, but we would like to see a lot more children joining our kids on the trails.

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Little D passed her second of three #taekwondo #blackbelt tests. The third, and biggest, is in October. #tkd #sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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