Connecticut Trails Day Event Largest Ever

It happens about this time every year. I visit the headquarters of Connecticut Forest & Park Association and pick up the brochure for the latest Connecticut Trails Day Celebration. And then go in my basement laboratory to develop a potion to split myself off 100 ways.

Unfortunately it never works. And, of course, this year they go off and set an all-time high with 190 hiking, paddling, running and riding events for the 19th annual event on June 4 and 5. I so don't have enough ingredients for that potion. And kudos to the association for coming up with that many events in one of the nation's smallest and most developed states.

Chuck Sack, chairman of the event, has dedicated this year's effort in remembrance of longtime volunteers and planners Birge Dayton and Dick Blake who passed away during the past year. Blake worked on the Appalacian Trail in Falls Village developing a wheelchair accessible section. Dayton planned and built trail bridges statewide.

This year's event will take place in 112 towns along 500 miles of trails throughout the state. Events include hiking, biking, trail maintenance, kayaking, educational walks, bird watching and geocaching. Each event is guided by knowledgeable volunteers from local hiking clubs, parks and recreation departments, state agencies, conservation organizations, historic groups, naturalists, educators and land trusts. The New England Trail – the most recently designted National Scenic Trail in the United States – will have 25 events as it winds its way through the center of the state.

So, if I could split myself off in various directions, here are the top 5 events I would check out. But remember if none of these interest you, there are 185 more to choose from!

Bolton, June 4, 10 a.m.: I love caves and the stories that come with them and this hike led by conservation commission chairman Rod Parlee and Bolton historian Hans DePold visits several of them in Bolton Notch. Meet at the Bolton commuter parking lot off routes 44 and 6.

Burlington, June, 4 10 a.m.: As I've hiked hundreds of miles across the state for my columns, I've often wondered if I could live off the land. "Wildman" Steve Brill could show me how as he leads a hike through Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area searching for edibles and medicinal plants. I feel healthy already. Route 69. Pre-register to Paul Rochford 860-276-7134.

Kent, June 5, 9:30 a.m.: Iron Mountain Preserve and a rugged 3.1-mile "lollipop loop" trail. That about says it all, but the trail also goes through rocky terrain, piney groves, stone walls, old apple trees and hopscotch rocks. Sounds good to me. Trailhead on Treasure Hill Road near the intersection of Richards and South roads.

Meriden, June 5, 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m.: For those early or late risers, Meriden has a lot to offer. One of my favorite places to hike in the state. Hikers can explore Hubbard Park, Quinnipiac River Gorge, Giuffrida Park and Mount Lamentation. These are places right in the middle of civilization, but you feel like you are in the netherlands.

New Haven, June 5, 3 p.m.: Who needs the woods when you have Edgewood Park, a 123-acre urban oasis designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Meet at the park gazebo on the corner of Edgewood and Yale avenues. Pre-register by calling Semi at 203-389-0745.

Connecticut Trails Day is part of National Trails Day, a nationwide hiking initiative established by the American Hiking Society in 1993. Booklets with full listings of events is available at the association's headquarters at 16 Meriden Road (Route 66) in Rockfall or at libraries across the state. Visit for an online version of the booklet.