The Connecticut Greenways Council (CGC) will hold its 22nd Annual CT Greenway Awards on Friday, June 4, at 10 a.m. at the Brookfield Town Hall Bandshell in Brookfield. The event, traditionally held on the Friday before CT Trails Day weekend on June 5 and 6, will celebrate the Still River Greenway.
New greenways in Portland and Wethersfield will be designated at the event, and seven awards will be given out to four individuals, a non-profit organization, a CT business, and a municipality that have made significant contributions to the promotion, development and enhancement of greenways in Connecticut.
A greenway is a corridor of open space that may protect natural resources, preserve scenic landscapes and historical resources or offer opportunities for recreation or nonmotorized transportation. A greenway may also connect existing protected areas and provide access to the outdoors; may be located along a defining natural feature, such as a waterway; along a man-made corridor, including an unused right-of-way, traditional trail routes or historic barge canals; or may be a greenspace along a highway or around a village.
Greenways in Connecticut cover thousands of acres throughout every county in the state and may include paved or unpaved trail systems, ridgelines, or linked parcels of open space. Many other communities around Connecticut have chosen, through greenway designation, to recognize the importance of river corridors for natural resource protection, recreational opportunities, and scenic values. The CT Greenways Council webpage contains details on how to propose designations, get assistance, and view a map of our State Greenways.
“Greenways play an integral role in connecting Connecticut residents to the outdoors,” Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Mason Trumble said. “Our outdoor spaces provide countless mental and physical health benefits to Connecticut residents – especially so over the past year. Greenways will continue to serve an important function as we emerge from the pandemic, helping to drive the state’s outdoor recreation economy. I’m thrilled that we are adding two new greenways to the list of officially designated Connecticut Greenways today. Thank you to the leaders in the towns of Portland and Wethersfield, and the CGC for their efforts to make that possible, and congratulations to this year’s awardees for their tremendous contributions to promote greenways in Connecticut.”
Each year, the CGC holds an awards ceremony to celebrate greenways and to highlight the efforts of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the promotion, development and enhancement of the state’s greenways. In addition to Deputy Commissioner Trumble, speakers at this year’s event include CGC Chair Bruce Donald, and Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn.
After the event, at 11 a.m., those interested have the option of participating in a walk on the Still River led by Cathy Hagadorn, Director of the CT Audubon Society.
This year’s awardees are:
- John Hankins
- Neva Taylor
- Tom Nosal
- Vevette Greenberg
- The Housatonic Valley Association and its IRTM project led by HVA staff Tim Abbott, Regional Conservation and Greenprint Director, and Stacy Deming, GIS Manager
- The Norbrook Brewery
- The Town of Manchester
The two newly designated Connecticut Greenways are the Portland Air Line Trail Spur, which was the result of the town of Portland's foresight in purchasing 22 acres of open space to provide a connection from an accessible parking lot to the Air Line Trail; and the Wethersfield Heritage Way, a cross-town, 10-mile long bicycling and walking route that connects and explores a wealth of recreational, historical, agricultural, open space and natural assets in one of Connecticut's oldest towns.
This year’s Greenway Awards coincides with National Trails Day (known locally as “Connecticut Trails Day”), a two-day event that occurs the first weekend of June every year to promote Connecticut’s diverse trail offerings. This year, over 180 Connecticut Trails Day events will occur June 5-6 which is more events than any other state in the nation. Please visit the Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s Directory of Events to find a hike, nature walk, paddle, or trail maintenance event happening in your area! Participant registration closes at 9 p.m. the night before the event, so sign-up today.