Simsbury Recognized as Bike-Friendly Community

Today, the League of American Bicyclists honored the efforts of Simsbury to build better places for people to bike with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. Simsbury joins 506 communities across the country in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone. The award recognizes Simsbury for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.

Read more…

Columbia Greenway Grand Opening

Join the Friends of the Columbia Greenway to celebrate the grand opening of the Central Section of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail!

This event will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the beginning of the Main Street Bridge, followed by a group walk and roll down the Central Section to the Westfield River Esplanade, where the celebration will continue. The entire community is invited to join us in celebrating this momentous occasion and major accomplishment for Westfield!

More details here.

FVTC Receives Grant from Suffield Fund

The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) is an awardee of a $2,500 grant from the Suffield Greater Together Community Fund. The Suffield Greater Together Community Fund is committed to supporting individuals and communities within the Greater Hartford region through capacity building, strategic learning and evaluation, community leadership, grant-making and investments and public policy, with the ultimate goal of advancing equity and creating positive change for those disproportionately impacted by disparities. The FVTC will use grant funds to maintain the bicycle repair station at the Phelps Road access area. The FVTC donated and maintains this bicycle repair station, which has suffered from vandalism and stolen tools. Repair stations are essential to ensure the safety of cyclists, as these stations provide them access to the tools they need to address a variety of bike problems, such as flat tires. The funds from this grant will support replacing tools and the vandalized pump, as well as future repairs and maintenance.

In addition, the FVTC will use the $2,500 grant to install a new bench along the trail. The benches along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FHCT) serve as memorials, rest stops for weary travelers or places for leisurely visits. This bench will honor Catherine and Allen Ryan, two Suffield residents and active community members. Catherine Ryan was a registered nurse dedicated to serving with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance. Passionate about contributing to creating a thriving community, Allen Ryan was involved with the water pollution control authority and the FVTC. He also played an integral role in converting the Suffield portion of the FCHT for nearly a decade.

Any remaining funds will be dispersed to enhance other trail amenities at the Phelps Road parking area, such as kiosk repairs and graffiti removal.

Overall, these projects will benefit the community by ensuring that the FHCT remains safe, accessible and inclusive for all visitors. The FCHT has been recognized as a Community Millennium Trail under the federal Millennium Trails Initiatives due to the high value it provides to the communities it serves. Community members rely on miles of continuous biking and walking trails, passing through eleven towns that connect New Haven to Suffield for recreational activity and social gatherings. The FCHT is essential for community thriving as it provides a safe and picturesque environment for commuting, recreational activity and social gathering. Therefore, continued investment into supporting the maintenance and improvement of the FCHT is crucial for boosting utilization and meeting community needs.

Construction Underway for Tariffville Connector

CT Insider has reported that construction began on the Tariffville Connector between the village of North Bloomfield (near Old St. Andrews church) and the village of Tariffville in Simsbury.  The connector will provide an off-road route for the first time between these two points, and is a key link on the East Coast Greenway between Hartford and Simsbury, as well as for local riders coming from West Hartford and Bloomfield.

Read the full article

Native Gardens along the Farmington Canal Trail

by Joanna deBear
Associate Director, Cheshire Pollinator Pathway

Have you noticed some new, beautiful gardens along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) in Cheshire? Those are thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers that were inspired to install native perennial gardens to support local wildlife. The group is known as the Cheshire Pollinator Pathway, and their mission is to create closely spaced native, straight-species food and habitat oases to support all pollinators such as butterflies and moths, bumblebees and solitary bees, birds, and other wildlife. The pollinator gardens installed along the FCHT were in response to the devastating decline of pollinator and bird populations in the past few years.

This local movement was inspired by Louise Washer from the Norwalk Watershed Association and Pollinator Pathway Northeast steering committee. She spoke to a group of land trusts, garden clubs, and community conservation advocates in and around Cheshire back in 2019 and motivated them into action! With their conservation friends at Southington Land Conservation Trust (Shari Guarino) and the Hamden Land Conservation Trust (Gail Cameron and Jim Sirch), the journey began. The Cheshire Pollinator Pathway was initially under the umbrella of Cheshire Land Trust but has since transitioned to Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire (CSC).

The first garden at 487 North Brooksvale Road, along the FCHT, was designed by Connecticut’s own well-known landscape designer and native plant advocate Kathy Connolly. A core group of volunteers set to work smothering grass, killing invasives, and taking down dead ash trees to prepare the site. During that time, they installed a “Summer Splash” garden, a mix of brightly colored annuals and perennials, some native and some not. Users of the Canal Trail loved it! The perennial garden was completed in spite of COVID in the summer of 2021, thanks to the hard work of all-ages volunteers.

In early April 2022, they took over stewardship of the gardens on West Main St. adjacent to the Ball and Socket Arts complex and FCHT. In the three garden beds is a Petit Family Foundation memorial named after Michaela Petit, called “Michaela’s Garden,” planted with Michaela’s favorite annual, four o’clocks. The bed also has extensive native plantings including several varieties of milkweed that specifically support Monarch butterflies.

Their third garden (Cheshire Pollinator Pathway at Lock 12) is underway directly across from the original garden at 487 Brooksvale, adjacent to the parking area at the historic Lock 12 site. A successful fundraising event was held in May, 2022 to support the work involved in determining wetland areas for protection, clearing invasives with heavy machinery, and obtaining a plan and plants for installation of native trees, shrubs and perennials. The new garden will have an open view to Willow Brook as well. Currently they are working to smother invasives and have recently planted native shrubbery. The garden will be completed in early 2023.

The generous support of donors and hard work of volunteers has enabled the success of these gardens. Just listen to the happy hum and buzz of the pollinators and you will agree! The hope is that passers-by on the trail will take these lessons home to their gardens and find ways to support these fragile ecosystems.

In addition to the garden work, the Cheshire Pollinator Pathway under the CSC has been able to host educational talks at the Cheshire Public Library. They’ve held on-site workshops and have regular, weekly volunteer workdays in the gardens spring, summer and fall. Additionally, they send out a monthly newsletter with the goal to inform and raise awareness of pollinators and native plants. If you are interested, they are always looking for volunteers to plant, weed, water, work in outreach, and whatever else is needed! Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contact them for more information at


Photos courtesy of Joy VanderLek

Hartford Courant Reports on FCHT

We were happy to see on the front page of the Oct. 23 Hartford Courant a really nice article on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.   The Courant reports that the long-awaited closing of the gap in Plainville and Southington should be completed by 2027 (with an outside chance of an earlier date).  The article  the recreational, economic, and transportation value of the FCHT, as well as the ultimate plans to close the Massachusetts gaps and complete the 83-mile trail between New Haven, CT and Northampton, MA.  Read the full article here.

$16 million Awarded for Two FCHT Projects

Aug 2022: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant program awarded $16.3 million to the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) to fund the design and construction of two connected trails in the municipalities of Plainville and New Britain. The first trail will fill the last major gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT), completing a 66-mile off-road multi-use trail from New Haven to Westfield, Massachusetts. The second trail will connect the FCHT to the CTfastrak trail in New Britain, greatly enhancing access to the FCHT as well as active transportation possibilities.

Simsbury Budgets Funds for Tariffville Connector

UPDATE from Simsbury.Bike: We are excited to share that the Simsbury Board of Selectmen’s Approved Budget FY 2022-2023 has allocated $300,000 for planning and engineering of the Curtiss Park to Tariffville Multi-use Trail. Following approval of the budget by the Board of Finance, the budget will go to Budget Referendum, scheduled for Tues., May 3 (tentative). If the funding remains in the budget and voters pass the budget, then we will finally have action on planning the center segment of the Tariffville Connector Multi-use Trail. Please keep an eye on this process, and if you are eligible, be sure to vote in the Budget Referendum.

See and Be Seen:
Pedestrian Safety
(watch the video)

As days grow longer and weather milder, more of us will be walking and sharing space with cars and trucks. Have you thought about your safety as a pedestrian?

Please watch this video – it’s food for thought.


Go to Top