Welcome to the FVTC!
The FVTC was founded in 1992 by Preston Reed of Farmington as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to promote public awareness of the conversion of the abandoned Canal Railroad into the central Connecticut portion of the multi-use Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) and the Farmington River Trail. Today the organization has sixteen volunteer director/officers, encompasses nine towns and has over fourteen hundred members. The Adopt-a-Trail Program has over one hundred volunteers providing maintenance for all thirty two miles of paved trail currently completed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been granted since our inception for construction and enhancements. Other functions are regional advocacy, and events such as clean-up days and rides. The FVTC disseminates ten thousand folding maps a year and has created a comprehensive guide of the trail system. We are proud to work with all of the regional stakeholders toward the final completion of the trail system creating one of the premier contiguous multi-use trails in America, and we welcome your support as a member or volunteer. Please see Maps and Trails: Trail Miles Statusand Resources: Links: Publications: Why Multi-Use Trails in Connecticut? for further information.
Preston T. Reed (Mar. 1916 – Dec. 2013) - First President of the FVTC
The Board of Directors and Officers of the Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) sadly mark the passing of our founder, Preston Reed. Preston was a long-time resident of Farmington, CT. Born in Nashua, NH, he grew up in Yonkers and White Plains, NY. He was a graduate of Union College and had an MA from Columbia. He rose to the rank of Captain in the Air Force in WWII in the Pacific theater. He worked for many years as the Director of Human Resources for the Nestle Co. His second career was as Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at the Rensselaer Graduate Center in Hartford for 20 years. Along the way he built houses, was an early adopter of the personal computer, and became an outstanding sailor and bicyclist.
The first federal Transportation Act to fund the conversion of abandoned railroad beds into multi-use trails in 1991 (ISTEA) came to Preston’s attention, and he was determined to bring those trails to the Farmington Valley. His organizational abilities were showcased when he partnered with Len Tolisano, then the Town Planner of Simsbury, who formulated the idea of having a six-town committee of the other valley towns of Farmington, Burlington, Avon, Suffield, and Granby form to apply for the federal funds and to start the push for construction of a greenway which would link the towns.
Having retired in 1991, Preston envisioned a citizens’ advocacy group, the Farmington Valley Trails Council, and the FVTC was duly incorporated in 1992. The pairing was critical: a group of municipal employees to champion the concept and move the paperwork through the proper channels, and a citizens group to develop a public awareness of the desirability of the idea, and keep reminding public officials of the support of their constituents. Keep in mind that the trails that we now love were an un-built and un-proven concept at the time. It takes a certain type of person to overcome the objections of abutting property owners and other detractors. It was this formula of municipal/advocate partnership that to this day continues to push for the ultimate success of the trail system.
In a 2012 conversation, Preston related that he took great satisfaction in the coming completion of the trail; that it has succeeded even beyond his expectations; and it continually surprised him with the wide range of uses it is put to. With his usual perspicacity he noted the need for better and safer accesses to the trail, which would expand into a network of walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and hoped that the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail could be extended to the south to connect through Plainville to New Haven.
As we enjoy the linear park which enhances our community and enlivens ourselves, let us remember our founder, who in 21 years never took his eyes away from the goal. Preston Reed was still a familiar sight riding on his beloved trails into his mid-90s. Our collective heart goes out to his wife Ann, his sons and daughters and many grandchildren.
THE RIVER TRAIL IN BURLINGTON IS IN POOR CONDITION
BE VERY CAUTIOUS ... The River Trail in Burlington currently remains open, however it is in a deteriorated state and we urge all users TO GO SLOW, particularly road bikers who may prefer to use RT 179 (up the Burlington parking lot ramp north to Collinsville) to avoid the bumpy pavement. The Town is assured that they will receive the remaining funding necessary for the reconstruction of the Trail. ConnDOT is finishing up the design and the town hopes to go to bid and start construction by early in 2014.