Wilton Loop had 68,566 visitors last year

The Wilton Loop of the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) had 68,566 visitors last year, according to the results of University of Connecticut’s Connecticut Trail Census — a multi-use trail user data collection program that studied trail usage in the state.

The Wilton Loop of the NRVT was one of 15 trails to participate in the year-long study.

In December 2016, an infrared device was installed on a tree near the Wilton Loop’s Autumn Ridge Drive parking lot to count trail visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the trail census results, Wilton Loop visitors averaged 5,713 per month, 1,318 per week and 188 per day.

April was the Wilton Loop’s highest usage month, accounting for 15% of the total year’s count, while November, December and January were the lowest months at 3% to 6%. May through September accounted for 8% to 10% of the total count.

Saturday and Sunday together accounted for 37% of the Wilton Loop’s weekly total, while the other days of the week each averaged 13%. Ninety percent of its daily visitors came between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Trail users

As part of the study, NRVT volunteers handed out questionnaires to find out more about Wilton Loop visitors.

Of the those surveyed, 56% were female and 44% were male, and 63% were over the age of 45.

As for their “primary activities” on the trail, 69% of survey-takers reported walking, 16% reported bicycling and 14% reported running or jogging.

Eighty-nine percent said their “primary purpose” for visiting the trail was to exercise, while 41% said relaxation, 39% said recreation and 19% said dog-walking.

Taney said the primary use of the census data is in fund-raising.

“Individuals, foundations and companies who are considering a donation are very interested in metrics that demonstrate people actually use the trail,” he said.

“The numbers from the Connecticut Trail Census are very useful in this regard.”

To learn more about the Connecticut Trail Census, visit cttrailcensus.uconn.edu.