Wilton Demonstration Trail opens April 26

Get ready to break out your old pair of hiking shoes. The Norwalk River Valley Trail is set to open another of its paths to the public on Saturday, April 26.

Known as the Wilton Demonstration Trail, a half-mile path running from Gaylord Road to Raymond Lane will be the newest section of the proposed trail to officially open. It broadly represents what the full Norwalk River Valley Trail may someday resemble, said Patricia Sesto, director of Wilton’s Department of Environmental Affairs, during a tour of the finished construction last week.

The new path includes a crushed-stone walkway and nearly 150 feet of boardwalk that runs over protected wetlands. The demonstration trail will be open for hiking, biking, and other light recreation during warmer months, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter.

On Saturday at 9, Ms. Sesto said, the Blue Buffalo Co. will sponsor a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the trail’s South Gaylord entrance.

The public is invited to attend and learn more about the Norwalk River Valley Trail project as a whole.

“The completion of the Wilton Demonstration Trail is a significant milestone and will provide the community a chance to experience what we envision the full NRVT will one day become,” Ms. Sesto said in a press release. “We are excited for the public to come out and enjoy nature on the trail, and we are already looking forward to moving to the next phase of the project.”

The event will feature a “Paws on Parade” dog walk at 10, a “Spuds on a Spoon” challenge at 11, and a raffle, with multiple prize drawings at noon. There will also be a Norwalk River Valley Trail treasure hunt with GPS coordinates and traditional clues throughout the day.

Construction on the first half-mile of the demonstration trail was made possible by two large donations from the Wilton community, including $125,000 from Betsy and Jesse Fink and $60,000 from the Jansen family.

Timber & Stone, a Vermont company headed by builder Josh Ryan, designed and constructed the trail during the past several months. Its professionalism and apparent aptitude in trail-building, Ms. Sesto said, has made it a front-runner for future Norwalk River Valley Trail projects.

The total NRVT project envisions 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury. The path would pass through Ridgefield, Redding and Wilton along the way.

Though some state funding is being explored, the majority of construction costs will have to be paid for by private donations.

Parking for Saturday’s celebration will be in the commuter lot adjacent to Orem’s Diner at the intersection of Route 7 and Wolfpit Road. Attendees should proceed to the ceremony via the Wolfpit and Route 7 crosswalks and the short section of trail to Gaylord Drive North; sneakers or sturdy shoes are recommended.

Event and door prizes for Saturday’s event were donated by the following local vendors: Outdoor Sports Center, Cycling Sports Group, Blue Buffalo, Hello Yoga, Les Petits Cuistots, Master Robert, Moore Fitness, Naked Greens, The Painted Cookie, Patagonia, Peachwave, Sassy Jo’s, Scoops, Siggi’s Yogurt, The Toy Chest, The Well, Wilton Sports & Fitness, and the Wilton Family YMCA.

Tax-deductible donations for the trail may be mailed to “The Friends of the NRVT,” P.O. Box 174, Georgetown CT 06829.