Welcome to the FVTC!
Q: Why Become a Member of the Farmington Valley Trails Council?
A: To connect people and communities? improving our world?
Who Are We?
- The Farmington Valley Trails Council. Inc. is a CT 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in 1992 to advocate for multi-use "rails-to-trails" in central Connecticut.
- The Board of Directors comes from many different towns and backgrounds, our President, Bruce Donald, has held that position for 9 years, and has been appointed Chairman of the Connecticut Greenways Council and Chair of the CT Committee of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.
- The political advocacy and economic strength of our organization stem directly from the vibrancy of our membership.
- Our Adopt-a-Trail Program helps eight towns keep the trail clean and safe with over 100 volunteers.
- The FVTC Trail Ambassador Program and other initiatives such as our Clean-Up Day every April, and trailside tables attract hundreds of volunteers.
- We have very low administration costs. 94% of every dollar goes to the trails.
- FVTC grants for construction, maintenance and trail amenities have averaged over $38,000 a year over the last 6 years.
What Do We Do?
- We work tirelessly to "close the gaps" in the 80-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, the 26-mile Farmington River Trail, and the designated East Coast Greenway system.
- Promotion of the benefits of this multi-use trail system, branded as a linear park from New Haven to Northampton as one of the premier such facilities in the United States.
- The FVTC Maintenance Fund helps our area towns fund trail construction, enhancements and ongoing maintenance.
- Building alliances with federal, State, town and like-minded organizations is a key component of our advocacy. We sit on multiple boards and speak at events across the eastern U.S.
- We educate the public by providing 10,000 folding maps a year, as well as events that promote safety and proper etiquette on the trail system. An updated Trail Guide will be published soon.
- We provide up-to-date information on our high quality Website www.fvgreenway.org and through timely communications such as Newsletters and emails.
- We publish papers on trail advocacy, policy, maintenance and safety.
- We give out thousands of free handlebar bells and blinkies to promote trail safety.
- Our Laser Counter Program accurately counts usage on the trail system and provides detailed, reliable data for not only the FVTC but CTDOT, DEEP and others.
- Our Unified Design Policy dictates our grants for rules and etiquette signage, information kiosks, benches, and initiatives such as painted center lines and commercial signage.
Why Do We Do It?
- To provide a safe, off-road, ADA-compliant trail system that allows free "alternative" recreation and travel from point to point in a uniquely beautiful setting.
- Every dollar spent building multi-use trails returns a multiple of that yearly.
- They are immediate successes when built, indicating heavy demand, and they attract thousands of users. Over 250,000 in just the Farmington Valley in 2013 alone!
- All those local and out of town users add significantly to community economic development.
- Residents are overwhelmingly positive about them, communities that have them are more desirable, and properties near trails sell faster at higher prices.
- These repurposed corridors are retained permanently as improved open space.
THE RIVER TRAIL IN BURLINGTON IS IN CONSTRUCTION PHASE
The River Trail in Burlington is closed for reconstruction. The projected schedule is:
January 5-16 Tree Clearing
January 19-23 ake Up Asphalt; Take Out Some Roots
April/May Fine Grading, Paving and Fence
End of May Estimated Completion
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.