NORWALK, Conn. -- Mother Nature ultimately triumphed in late January. After groundbreaking in November, the crew building the Norwalk Valley River Trail (NRVT) demonstration section fought to keep the project on track as our cold, unpredictable winter unfolded.
But they had to give up trying to surface the trail as it froze and thawed and froze again. They’d focus on the 160-foot boardwalk across the wetlands instead. Then winter shut down the mills that supplied the black locust timber, and it was time to leave the trail entirely to Mother Nature for a few weeks.
The demo section runs 0.5 miles from near Wilton’s Orem’s Diner up to Raymond Lane. It is intended to show residents of the NRVT communities – Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding and Danbury – what a completed 38-mile, 10-foot-wide trail will look like.
Now the team from Timber & Stone LLC is back on the job, aiming to complete work ahead of the grand demo section opening party set for Saturday, April 26.
I caught up with Josh Ryan, Timber & Stone’s boss, last week as he was excavating a small rest area alongside a sloping, winding section of trail. It was a beautiful day, but we are not out of the woods weather-wise yet. Josh needs a mild month, with plenty of April showers.
As if to emphasize that nothing should be taken for granted, the day before had brought high winds, and downpours arrived in the days that followed.
The reopening of the sawmills has allowed Josh and his team to finish the boardwalk. Next up is the trail’s surface, rutted by winter work. It will be top-dressed from end to end. Then comes naturalization – making the trail look like it’s always been there. Watch out for further announcements about the opening party for this ancient trail.
Rob McWilliams is an avid hiker who lives in Fairfield County. His hiking blog is online.