DEEP: Governor’s Greenways Council Presents 19th Annual Greenways Awards

2018 Press Release
 
June 4, 2018
 
Governor’s Greenways Council Presents
19th Annual Greenways Awards
 Designates three New Connecticut Greenways
 
The Governor’s Greenways Council on Friday commended eight individuals, and a volunteer committee of the Last Green Valley, that have made significant contributions to the promotion, development and enhancement of Greenways – linear open space in Connecticut – and designated three new State greenways at a ceremony at the Nathan Lester House, in Ledyard. 
 
“Our State Designated Greenways provide great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, whether you want to commute to work, exercise or shop using a bicycle, or simply go for a walk on a beautiful day,” said. Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). “Greenways and trails provide opportunities to local residents and visitors alike to enjoy the fresh air, while helping to boost the economy throughout Connecticut by visiting local restaurants and shops along the way.”
 
Bruce Donald, Chair of the CT Greenways Council, and Tri-State Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance stated: “Trails reinvigorate our souls. They strengthen our bodies. They build our communities in myriad ways we didn’t comprehend even ten years ago. They are a part of the fabric of Connecticut.”
 
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 communities around Connecticut have chosen, through greenway designation, to also recognize the importance of river corridors for natural resource protection, recreational opportunities, and scenic values. The CT Greenways Council website contains details on how to get designations, assistance and a map of our State Greenways.  www.ct.gov/deep/greenways
 
          
The Council presented the following nine awards and three newly designated State Greenways:
 
2018 CT Greenways Council Award Recipients:
 
Eric Hammerling, Executive Director, CT Forest and Park Association received the CT Greenways Council’s Advocacy Award for work with the CT Greenways Council and CT Legislators on SB 424 in support of the CT Recreational Trails Program.
 
Laura E. Brown, MS, CEcD, Community & Economic Development Educator, University of Connecticut - Department of Extension, Fairfield County Extension Center - received the CT Greenways Council’s Education Award for development of the CT Trail Census (https://cttrailcensus.uconn.edu/ )
 
Ron Goralski –president of Bike Friendly Farmington (BFF) received the Nonprofit Award for his leadership of this successful, recently formed group. He has been president since 2014, and more recently was made a board member of the Farmington Bicycle Advisory Committee, has done substantial work for Bike Walk CT, and launched the Kevin Adorno Memorial Bike Ride. 
 
Tim Malone - Principal Planner for the Capitol Region Council of Governments, received the CT Greenways Council’s Planning Award for his role in the recent Plainville Gap Closure Trail Study.
 
Dr. Dennis O’Neill, chief of medical staff of Eastern CT Health Network at Manchester Memorial Hospital is receiving the CT Greenways Council’s first Health Care Integration Award.  For many years, Dr. O’Neill has worked in the background to advocate, expand, and use greenways.  His advocacy brings to light the preventative and rehabilitative elements of health care. 
 
Jay Moran Mayor of Manchester, received the CT Greenways Council’s Municipal Achievement Award.  As mayor, he sees greenways as an opportunity for physical conditioning, rehabilitation, multi-modal transportation, safe routes to school, linking parks, and enjoyment.  He is quietly closing the 3 remaining gaps in the tri-town, 20-mile loop connecting Bolton’s Hop River Trail, Vernon’s Valley Falls Trail, and Manchester’s Cheney Rail Trail, and Manchester/Bolton’s Charter Oak Greenway (East Coast Greenway). 
 
Vince McDermott, FASLA, AICP, Senior Vice President of Milone & McBroom's Landscape Architecture and Planning Department received the CT Greenways Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for landscape architecture, planning and design of many, many multi-use trails and greenways over the past decades.  This includes extensive and ongoing work for the inclusion of a multi-use trail on the 38-mile Merritt Parkway. 
 
Ann Letendre, Friends of Hockanum River Linear Park of Vernon, received the CT Greenways Council’s, Unsung Hero Award.  Since 1997, Ann has written and managed 24 grant projects for the Hockanum River Linear Park, Valley Falls Park and Farm, and protection of the Tankerhoosen watershed.  Additionally, Ann has served as Chairman, Vernon Open Space Task Force since its formation in 1988; prepared the Vernon Open Space Plan; has been a Member of the Town of Vernon Conservation Commission Inland Wetlands Commission for 19 years, 5 of those as chairman.
 
The Last Green Valley’s HETAP Volunteer Committee received the Volunteer Award.  The Trails Assessment Team members have spent hundreds of hours over the last three years becoming experts in the High Efficiency Trails Assessment Process. The goal of the team is to measure, interpret and publish objective information about trail segments so that all users, including people with mobility impairments who need canes, walkers or wheelchairs, can determine whether or not a trail is within their abilities.  This tight-knit, dedicated team of volunteers Sandra Swale, Angela Kneeland, Greg Stillman, and Virge Lorents lead by The Last Green Valley’s LyAnn Graff, are creating informational signage for assessed trail segments in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor.   
 
2018 Officially Designated Greenways
 
Great Oak Greenway, Ledyard - the greenway is the start of a significant corridor in southeastern CT that is over 25 years in the making; The Gungywamp Greenway, which was originally envisioned by the State of CT Council on Environmental Quality in the 1991 Annual Report. The greenway expands the Nathan Lester and Great Oak Park’s nearly 2 miles of existing trails with new trails on 800 Long Cove Road. The greenway also includes the Avalonia Pine Swamp Wildlife Corridor which extends from the north of the Nathan Lester property encompassing multiple trail systems and extensive swamps and upland woods habitat protection.
 
Captain John Bissell Trail, South Windsor – This greenway is approx. 4.5 miles in length, and will connect several existing and planned trails in the Hartford area.  The eastern end of the trail will provide access to the Charter Oak Greenway/East Coast Greenway in Manchester, while the western end of the trail will connect with the pedestrian and bike path on the Windsor side of the Bissell Bridge crossing the Connecticut River.  On that side of the Bissell Bridge there is access to the Windsor River Trail in Windsor with future planned extensions to both Hartford and Wethersfield.  The Captain John Bissell Greenway will also provide access to the South Windsor CrossTown Greenway, which connects the south and north ends of South Windsor and provides a connection in the north to rural East Windsor.
 
South Meadows Greenway at Goodwin College - The greenway begins at the College’s Living Laboratory which is ADA accessible with designated handicapped parking and signage.  The greenway extends via a stone dust trail that starts at Main Street/10 South Meadow Lane in East Hartford, just over 2 miles south along the Connecticut River through East Hartford, Glastonbury and Wethersfield linking to the Putnam Bridge and connecting to the regional trail network.  The trail is currently being expanded north via paved trails to connect to the existing campus-walking path and sidewalk system.