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Greenway Trail

By John Eberle Stantec

I 32

t’s no secret that bringing a new trail from concept to reality requires a commitment. But the people behind Connecticut’s Shoreline Greenway Trail are taking that dedica- tion to a whole new level. The 25-mile trail along a stretch of Connecticut’s southern coast has already been many years in the making, with many more ahead of it. Why? The trail faces just about every challenge possible, from acquiring numerous pri-


vate property easements, to coordinat- ing between four towns, to designing through varying types of terrain. But with some patience, flexibility, and cre- ativity, the trail organizers and their designers are working toward what will be a spectacular recreational resource for the entire community.

Getting Started

The brainchild of a group of out- door enthusiasts across southern


Connecticut (now organized as the Shoreline Greenway Trail volunteer organization, or SGT for short), the trail is intended to connect the City of New Haven to its eastern suburbs, running 25 miles through the four towns of East Haven, Branford, Guilford, and Madison. The idea was to not only cre- ate a scenic multi-use trail and commut- er route along Connecticut’s shoreline, but also to connect a network of exist- ing trails in the area, including the 200- mile, north-south New England Trail and the 2,500-mile East Coast Greenway that extends from Maine to Florida. To assist in determining how and

where to turn that stretch of land into a trail, the organization used a federal grant to hire design firm Stantec to con- duct a feasibility study and map out a proposed route for the trail, including assessing connections to existing trail sections and any necessary alternatives. Over the course of that study, the team identified scores of challenges for making it happen, any one of which might have discouraged the average volunteer group from taking it on. But with Stantec’s help, the Shoreline Greenway Trail team persisted and today continues to keep their eye on the

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