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prize to find ways to make the trail work.


Making the Case Not surprisingly, the scenic water-


front along the Long Island Sound is prime property— which means much of it is privately owned. Developing a con- ceptual plan for the trail meant launch- ing an extensive public outreach pro- gram to review the proposal with corri- dor property owners and stakeholders and addressing potential concerns they may have about a public trail running through their land.


While extensive studies show that public trails do not equate to increased crime or other impacts like litter or van- dalism (in fact, they are more likely to raise property values), for some owners, the whole idea was a nonstarter. Undeterred, trail designers identified routes to bypass those parcels as well as further alternatives that could reincor- porate parcels as they become available.


One of the largest private landown-


ers is Amtrak, which had concerns about public access and liability. Routing the trail through the Amtrak property would minimize the need to disrupt wetlands and other sensitive areas, and provide a better trail experi- ence closer to spectacular vistas and natural resources. But Amtrak did not want to take on


any risk, offering to consider the plan only if the towns assumed any liability, both for potential trail users, as well as for potential environmental contamina- tion issues uncovered during construc- tion associated with the trail adjacent to rail lines. Taking on that kind of risk isn’t feasible for the towns, so once again, designers mapped out alternative routes using both public land and sup- portive land owners’ property to cir- cumvent the Amtrak property.


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