With a bevy of government officials and volunteers and dozens of bike riders in attendance, the ribbon cutting marked the latest step in efforts to link the Shoreline Greenway Trail from the beach park in Madison to Webster Point Road in Madison, and from there 25 miles to East Haven. The Shoreline Greenway Trail also will eventually link up to parks, railroad stations, village centers, and additional trails, including the East Coast Greenway, a developing trail system that runs 3,000 miles from Florida to Maine.
The walkway is ten feet wide and runs on top of 72 feet of marsh, with decking made of a composite grid material that allows available light through to the marsh grass below. The piers were installed by Robert J Barnabei Contracting, LLC of Madison, in a way that caused as little disruption to the marsh as possible.
The cost of the walkway? $75,000 and many, many hours of volunteer time. The Hammonasset section of the trail, which will run through Hammonasset Beach State Park to Webster Point Road will cost an estimated $607,000, of which $435,000 has been raised, according to a fact sheet from the Shoreline Greenway Trail.
More than 2,000 volunteers, including many in Madison, have already donated time and effort to the trail. Attending the ceremony Thursday were many of those volunteers, along with participants in an 11-day 169-mile bike ride called the Summer Outdoor Journey celebrating Connecticut state parks.
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty attended and said the trail will play an important role in encouraging people to get outside and enjoy resources like the state parks. He also predicted it would help boost economic vitality all along the shoreline, from Madison to East Haven.
Shoreline Greenway Trail Chair Chip Angle thanked the many people who have worked on the project so far.
“We are deeply grateful to Hammonasset Park personnel, DEEP staff, every contributor, and the amazing team of volunteers who have come together to make this section of the trail possible. It is a major step forward for the Shoreline Greenway Trail," he said.
Major funders include:
- Recreational Trails Program
- Long Island Sound Grant
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
- Dorr Foundation
- Madison Newcomers Club
- Madison Garden Club
- Madison Jaycees
- Guilford Savings Bank
- Designated individual gifts
Donatinos of pro bono services were received from Mike Ott, engineer; Barbara Yaeger, landscape architect; Craig Talmadge, contouring and construction; and Seashore Construction.
The Shoreline Greenway Trail is hosting a series of Fall 2013 First Saturday Hike and Bike events, with the first on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. from Stony Creek Branford to the Guilford town line. On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Madison Police Department is partnering with the Shoreline Greenway Trail's Team Madison, which includes Ginny and Ted Raff, to lead a gentle 15-mile bike ride along the Madison shoreline. On Saturday, Nov. 2, a Guilford Hike or Bike event is planned. And in December, a hike from East Haven to Farm River State Park is planned.
For more information on those events, and about the Shoreline Greenway Trail, please visit the Shoreline Greenway Trail website.
Also, on Sunday, Sept. 29, Trailblazer, Denali and JB Sports are hosting a 5K Obstacle Race at Hammonasset Beach State Park, featuring natural and man-made obstacles. Proceeds from the race will help support the Greenway Trail After the race, pizza from the Old World Pizza Truck, and beer from Thimble Island Brewing Co. will be available. For more information about the Run The Gauntlet Race, please visit the Run The Gauntlet Race website.