Would you consider donating a dollar for each Blue-Blazed mile of trail you’ve enjoyed? CFPA member Art Byram did!
Art is an ardent Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail (“Blue Trail”) user and supporter. He is an ultrarunner who particularly enjoys trail running. On November 30th of last year Art joined up with several other runners from the Shenipsit Striders running club for the annual Shenipsit Trail End to End (E2E). Beginning before dawn and finishing long after dark, Art caught both the sunrise and sunset while running on-trail.
Stretching 47 miles from Cobalt to Stafford (near the Massachusetts border), the trail traverses the Meshomasic and Shenipsit State Forests and connects to trail systems in Hebron’s Gay City State Park, Manchester’s Case Mountain Recreation Area, and Vernon’s Valley Falls Park. The Shenipsit Striders organize the E2E event, alternating whether they run the trail North to South or in reverse. This year was Art’s third time running the full trail but his first time running it South to North.
Art gets a lot out of running on the Blue Trails and is in the process of methodically running each of them. He has come to appreciate the specific challenge and personality of every one he visits. Art grew up playing in the woods and trail running is a natural extension of his love for running and nature. He jokes, “the hardest part of running the Blue-Blazed Trails is the constant need to stop and look at all of the great views and scenery”.
As trails are significant to Art, he took the additional step to support them through a donation. After completing the Shenipsit Trail E2E, Art was “feeling like I wanted to say thank you”. So he did. He went onto CFPA’s website (http://www.ctwoodlands.org/donate) and made a $47 donation, $1 for each mile of the trail he’d just run. His 47-mile Shenipsit Trail run was difficult, but making the donation was easy. Art has supported CFPA as a member and donor in the past, but this creative donation draws a true connection between his love of running on the trails now and ensuring their existence in the future.
Many in Connecticut appreciate the Blue Trails as a valuable resource. With 825 miles of varied terrain and seasonally-changing splendor spread across the state, there is sure to be a trail within a short distance of you (www.ctwoodlands.org/BlueTrailsMap). While many enjoy the Blue Trails, not all understand the efforts that go into protecting and maintaining them. Still fewer take action once they recognize the needs of the organization (CFPA) that vigilantly works to keep the trails accessible and available. The Blue Trails depend on the awareness and financial assistance of trail users like Art. Thank you, Art Byram, for loving the Blue Trails and sustaining them for future hikers and trail runners.