Connecticut Greenways Council Presents the 5th Annual Connecticut Trails Symposium Oct. 12-13
(HARTFORD) — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Greenways Council, in partnership with the City of Torrington, Five Points Arts Center, and UConn Extension and Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) are hosting the fifth Annual Connecticut Trails Symposium for local, state, and regional officials, property owners, managers, and volunteers on October 12-13, 2023. The symposium will take place at the Five Points Art Center in Torrington, Connecticut.
This annual event is just one way the Council highlights and showcases how communities can gather, plan, recreate, and support Connecticut’s statewide trail systems. This year’s symposium theme is “Connecting Connecticut,” with events and sessions focused on enhancing access and inclusivity on trails and within our outdoor recreation communities. The event will be a more immersive experience than previous symposiums with a week of trail-focused opportunities.
Greenways in Connecticut cover thousands of acres throughout every county in the state and may include paved or unpaved trail systems, ridgelines, or linked parcels of open space. Many communities around Connecticut have chosen, through greenway designation, to recognize the importance of river corridors for natural resource protection, recreational opportunities, and scenic values. The CT Greenways Council webpage contains details on how to propose designations, get assistance, and view a map of our State Greenways.
This year’s symposium will begin on Thursday, October 12th with an afternoon hike to the birthplace of abolitionist John Brown, and screening of the documentary WHY WE WALK, an award-winning documentary film about the black experience in the great outdoors. The screening will include a question-and-answer session with the film’s stars, Vanny Mwamba, Abdi Cheik and Touré Marshall from Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as director Eric Bishop from Cleveland.
A full day of concurrent sessions, including panel discussions, begins on Friday, October 13th. The keynote speaker is Joseph Dickerson, DEEP’s new Senior Advisor for Outdoor Equity, who will share his experience and strategies for building, integrating, and expanding equity work across the various divisions of DEEP and empowering stakeholder voices. Dickerson will support a panel discussion on the topic. Other sessions include:
- Strategies for planning off road trail connections and connecting Connecticut’s historical landmarks;
- Breaking down barriers to outdoor recreation engagement for youth, providing outdoor spaces in urban areas, and building trail community through partnerships;
- Building Connecticut’s outdoor economy and learning through the strategies of other New England states;
- Reviewing the patterns in trail use and public access to manager-approved trails information through the UConn Connecticut Trails Program.
At the end of the day, enjoy an easy hike on Five Points Art Center campus trails, exploring outdoor sculptures, and connecting with trail partners from throughout the region.
The City of Torrington has helped expand on the opportunities offered at this year’s symposium. On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at 6 p.m., Torrington’s Warner Theatre will host the World Trails Film Festival. Tickets and film information is available at https://trails.film/festivals/ct-trails/. In addition, several self-guided and instructor-led trail mobile events will take place on Wednesday October 11, 2023, throughout Northwestern Connecticut.
Further event details and on-line event registration is now open and can be accessed through the CT Trails website: https://cttrails.uconn.edu/symposium/