Joint Effort Bringing New Walking Trail System to North Branford
Volunteers from Honeywell and North Branford Land Conservation Trust recently walked a section of new walkway after placing it over wetlands at an entry point for the new trails. The walkway was constructed by the volunteers with funds contributed by Honeywell. (Photo courtesy North Branford Land Conservation Trust)
Volunteers from Honeywell and North Branford Land Conservation Trust recently constructed about 175 feet of wooden walkway to be placed over wetlands at an entry point for the new trails. Funds for walkway materials were contributed by Honeywell. Image from North Branford Land Conservation Trust)
On November 18, North Branford Land Conservation Trust (NBLCT) www.nblandtrust.org announced the development of a system of public walking trails in North Branford, made possible through a collaboration with Honeywell, the Northford Ice Pavilion www.northfordice.com, the Pines of North Branford and Belfonti Companies www.belfonti.com.
Honeywell contributed $15,000 to help fund the project and will offer parking accommodations at its site for residents of North Branford who want to walk the trails. Honeywell employees will also volunteer their time, working alongside volunteers from the North Branford Land Conservation Trust, in the creation of the trails and building foot-bridges and wooden walkways where needed.
"We are proud to give back to our North Branford community," said Steven Seehusen, North Branford plant director, Honeywell. "These new passive recreation opportunities help improve the walkability of our community and preservation of greenspace, making North Branford an even more vibrant area."
The new trail system will be created on a 27-acre parcel of land owned by NBLCT. The site is mostly forested and includes a diversity of native trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and wildlife. The proposed trail is on level ground, with one small stream and several wooded wetlands adding to the diversity.
According to David Sargent, NBLCT president, "The proposed trail system is still in the design phase, but will contain at least a loop trail, taking advantage of the interesting features of the parcel, and two short entry spurs. "The first spur would be a trailhead with a kiosk on the eastern side of the Northford Ice Pavilion and the second will be a at the existing entrance off Village Street."
"Our plan is to build wooden trail walkways on site to protect sensitive wet soils and to allow users to cross the wetlands area and view the 'inside' of a forested wetland", said Bonnie Symansky, director of the NBLCT.
The NBLCT land abuts two other parcels of land owned by related entities of Belfonti Companies, one of which is home to the Northford Ice Pavilion and the other of which is home to The Pines, a 120-unit luxury apartment community which is currently going through the approvals process. The Belfonti Companies will contribute to the project by donating the cost to create a trail from Fire Lite Drive to the trailhead entry kiosk on the Northford Ice Pavilion's land. Belfonti will also grant an easement of its land, at no cost to NBLCT, that will allow for the creation of the proposed trailhead entry point and extend the trail system from the land owned by NBLCT to the parking area at Honeywell, thereby permitting for additional public access to the trail system. According to Michael Belfonti, CEO of Belfonti Companies, the Northford Ice Pavilion is also willing to provide parking accommodations near the trail's entry point for use by those seeking to walk the trails.
Mr. Belfonti said, "The trail project as envisioned could not have moved forward without the generous contribution from Honeywell and the positive synergy between all participating organizations. Through our combined efforts we are all helping to create a vibrant mixed-use area in North Branford with multiple components including housing, employment, and active and passive recreation all within walking distance."
"Parents and guests of our hockey players and ice skaters are going to be thrilled to know that they will now have the added amenity of walking trails right next to our facility," said Marty Roos, one of the owners of the Northford Ice Pavilion.
"This project creates excellent linkage for users who will have the opportunity to live, work and play all within one central area," said Michael Paulhus, North Branford's Town Manager.
Roger Salway, the Economic Development Coordinator of the Town of North Branford, said, "The project is also consistent with the Town's Plan of Conservation and Development, and the new trails will provide opportunities for townspeople who live in adjoining neighborhoods and others to access the trail system."