Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail Now Open
Historic 4.4-Mile Trail Open for Public Recreation
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Ahlstrom-Munksjo, and the towns of Windsor Locks and Suffield are pleased to announce that the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail is open as of today.
The trail, which stretches 4.4 miles from Windsor Locks to Suffield, typically opens on April 1 each year. Special thanks to Ahlstrom-Munksjo, a global company that owns the property, for allowing the early opening of the trail, which is enjoyed by many for recreation.
The Windsor Locks Canal was constructed between June, 1827 and November, 1829 to skirt the Enfield rapids in the Connecticut River. The continuous water connection from the Connecticut River valley farmlands above the rapids through to Hartford and points south provided farmers with expanded markets and investors with freight fees in this business venture. Today’s paved surface lies atop the towpath, the actual walkway which animals, often mules, hauled the freight barges by rope north and south along the water way.
In recent decades the recreating public has been the largest user of this historic remnant of Connecticut’s commercial and industrial past, which offers hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities. Visitors should keep an eye out for a wide variety of wildlife and excellent examples of 19th century stonework in the stream crossing aqueducts and bridges.
DEEP encourages every visitor to State Parks and Forests to “Love Your Public Lands” and be environmental stewards. It is important to carry out what you carry in, even if a trash receptacle isn’t in your immediate vicinity. Visitors are encouraged to learn about and practice the philosophies of environmental stewardship programs such as Leave No Trace to ensure that our public lands remain clean and healthy for the organisms who inhabit them, and the next person visiting them.
Visitors are asked to practice safe social distancing when in State Parks or Forests. Keep a minimum of six feet of distance from other people, wear your mask when passing near other people, and allow proper distance when encountering others by ceding the trail to allow others to pass. If you’re not feeling well, stay home.