Recently, the Farmington Valley lost an ardent trail advocate of many years’ standing. Al Ryan was a long-time, dedicated and hard-working member of our board. Al retired from the board a few years ago and died, peacefully, on November 16, 2021. We asked our fellow board members to contribute recollections of Al and have assembled them into this memorial. It does not begin to recognize our debt to all the work that Al did to the benefit of us all.

A few remembrances:

One way I like to remember Al was as the tall, unassuming guy who would do whatever needed to be done for the trail. He and I did a trail side table up at the Copper Hill Rd. trail crossing, at which Al did his best to keep crossing cyclists safe and confident.

Let’s not forget Al’s efforts with the trail counters. He collected all the necessary parts, fabricated the post containing the counter, fitted the counter into the post, and then installed the posts alongside the trail at locations specified by others.

We all remember Al as the quiet one who never said much at meetings, but when he did speak it was always something worth the attention of the Board. Al brought dignity and serious purpose whenever he spoke.

Here is a shot from our strategic planning weekend of several years ago:

He was also someone who enjoyed a good time, as seen here during a joint meeting with the FCRTTA Board at Renaissance Cyclery:

In addition to working on the Suffield portion of the trail with the town planner weekly for more than nine years, he spent much time modifying the specification for the state line monument.

He was instrumental in converting the Suffield portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail over a nearly 10 year period.

Al Ryan’s obituary may be read at: