National Recognition for Willimantic River Water Trail

Willimantic River Water Trail

The Last Green Valley Press Release: National Recognition for Willimantic and Quinebaug River Water Trails

June 5, 2012: The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) and the Willimantic River Alliance (WRA) are pleased to announce a major expansion of nationally-acclaimed water trails in the region. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on Friday that the 21-mile Willimantic River Water Trail has been designated a Nation Recreation Trail. In addition, the Quinebaug River Water Trail, already a National Recreation Trail, has been expanded by 35 miles for a total of 45 miles of easily-accessible and enjoyable paddling on the Quinebaug.

"These designations are the culmination of a great deal of work by the Willimantic River Alliance and The Last Green Valley, and represent the next logical step in fulfilling our missions to protect our rivers by connecting people to them. This is a rare 'everyone wins' occurrence, benefitting the public, the towns, property owners, and most of all, the rivers themselves," commented Larry Diamond, WRA President.

WRA Vice-President Meg Reich added, "Designation of the Willimantic River gives it national recognition as a healthy and accessible river for all to enjoy. This honor acknowledges all the work that has gone into improving water quality over the last 40 years, from a river that was once heavily polluted to a nationally recognized recreational asset."

According to Lois Bruinooge, TLGV Deputy Executive Director, "The Quinebaug River is also a national treasure. Many of the paddling segments provide an opportunity for family-friendly, close-to-home outdoor adventures with a surprisingly remote feel; wildlife is abundant and the only traces of civilization are the remnants of old mills. Thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and partners, we will be releasing a new Quinebaug River Paddle Guide later this month to help people discover the river."

The Willimantic River Alliance's mission is to protect and preserve the Willimantic River through cooperative and educational activities that promote regional awareness, stewardship, and enjoyment of the river and its watershed.

The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) is the member-supported, non-profit organization working locally to preserve the irreplaceable land, water, and cultural resources of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, the last predominantly undeveloped green space in the coastal sprawl between Washington, D.C. and Boston.

Secretary of the Interior Press Release: Designation of 54 New National Recreation Trails

"WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the designation of 54 trails as national recreation trails, adding almost 1,400miles of trails to the National Trails System. Spanning 23 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect to the great outdoors.

"'From Alabama to Alaska, these national recreation trails provide a gateway to outdoor recreation in both urban and rural areas,' said Secretary Salazar. 'I am proud to partner with communities across the nation to expand this extraordinary network of trails, allowing more Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.'

"'Today's trails join a network of more than 1,150 previously-designated trails that span more than 13,650 miles,' said Director Jarvis.

National recreation trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the new national recreation trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Salazar, and a set of trail markers.

The national recreation trail program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website."