The Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System is at risk, with 40% traversing unprotected private property. So what are we doing about it? I am here to report that we are making progress! Since the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) received a grant in 2012 from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to expand outreach along the northern section of the New England National Scenic Trail (NET), we have been working closely with towns, land trusts, and other partners in that region to prioritize sections for protection and coordinate on private landowner outreach. Now we are using the same model to expand outreach further south on the NET and across the Trail System.
We are getting positive responses from many landowners who are interested in discussing everything from additional access points to permanent protection. One such example is our new partnership with the Windsor Locks Foundation in East Granby to continue maintaining the trail across their property. We are learning through this process that landowners are receptive to the trails and are glad to help where feasible. The process is dynamic and we are discovering new information every step of the way, but it is leading to long-lasting relationships, open lines of communication, and some very tangible successes.
Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks, months, and years.