Why Become a Donor?
It took 18 years to complete the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) in the Farmington Valley. Yet I can tell you not one person among the many dozens of officers, board members and volunteers feels that we are done with our job. Much of the 80.5-mile FCHT is indeed complete with the notable exception of a 9.1-mile piece running south from southern Farmington, through all of Plainville into northern Southington. A 4.7-mile gap remains in Cheshire. The resulting finished north-south trail will bisect Connecticut along with the Farmington River (Loop) Trail (FRT); (one of only a few 30-mile, off road loop trails connecting five towns in America) creating a unique destination in our State. We know that these multi-use trails or greenways are proven as recreational facilities for physical activity and health, as a tourism source of economic development, as an abatement of pollution and noise by replacing automobile trips, as a significant community amenity where people congregate and interact, and as a growing form of alternative transportation through commutation.
We fully recognize that the political advocacy and economic strength of the organization stem directly from the vibrancy of our over 1,600 members and donors. Every cent (except our very low administration costs) goes to the trails, no one takes a salary – we are all devoted volunteers. Spending on construction, maintenance and trail amenities has averaged over $44,000 a year over the last 4 years. Donors to the FVTC completed two pavilions, multiple information kiosks, dozens of benches, replaced fencing in Farmington and Avon, and completed the construction of the Salmon Brook Bridge in East Granby. That town assured us that the bridge would not have been completed without our help. Funding trail construction, enhancements and ongoing maintenance are key components of our business plan. However, we do a lot more:
- We work tirelessly for the completion of the FCHT, the FRT and the East Coast Greenway in Connecticut.
- We promote the benefits of this multi-use trail system as the 80.5-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and the 29.6-mile Farmington River (Loop) Trail.
- We help our area towns through building alliances with federal, State, town and advocacy organizations is a key component. 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 data and events that promote safety and proper etiquette on the trail system.
- We provide up-to-date information on our high quality Website and through timely communications such as a Newsletter and email list.
- We publish papers on trail advocacy, policy, maintenance and safety.
- We hold events like Trails-in-Motion (15 years) and our annual Clean-Up Day in April.
- Our Adopt-a-Trail Program helps our eight towns keep the trail clean and safe with over 100 volunteers.
- Rules and Etiquette Signage, constructing and maintaining information kiosks.
- “You are Here” Trail Program, Trail Ambassador Program.
- That’s only the highlights – see it all on fvgreenway.org.
In summation, I urge you to join us, in any role that you can. Feel free to come to a board meeting on the second Monday of the month or perhaps help out on Clean-Up Day or join one of our summer rides. Whatever your motivation, we, and the eight towns we serve, deeply appreciate your support and common love of the trail system. We would not be where we are without you.
Barbara Collins, President