NORWALK, Conn. -- The newest section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail is already popular with bikers, runners and strollers. Not bad for a trail that isn’t even officially open yet.
The new section runs 0.6 miles from Sharp Hill Road (opposite Autumn Ridge Drive) down to Raymond Lane, where it joins the NRVT “demo” trail, which opened this spring. It meanders gently through hardwoods and stands of pine, passing wetlands and tumbledown stone walls.
At the Raymond Lane end is the cause of the delay in the official opening – a 30-foot bridge across an intermittent brook. Last week, the bridge was completed but for its planks (and was well secured too so that trail users do not accidentally end up in the dry watercourse). Walkers – even bikers – are still getting through, having beaten their own path beside the bridge.
Timber and Stone LLC, the Vermont company building the NRVT, finished the trail itself in July. But design work for the bridge and, more significantly, obtaining the highly prized black locust wood for its boards, has set the ribbon-cutting back. The NRVT will hold that ceremony one Saturday in October, right next to the bridge as soon as the last boards are nailed in place.
The “demo” trail and the new trail are the first sections of the east-side Wilton Loop, to be continued, funding permitting, up to up to Pimpewaug Road, the Family Y, and Cannondale Village.
The NRVT project aims eventually to build 38 miles of multipurpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury ( www.nrvt-trail.com ).
Rob McWilliams is an avid hiker who lives in Fairfield County. His hiking blog is online .