Norwalk’s Charlie Taney has been named executive director of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, a projected 38-mile multi-purpose pathway that links Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk with Rogers Park in Danbury and runs through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding.

In the nonprofit realm, Taney created the Manresa Association in Norwalk, serves on the board of the Norwalk Land Trust and has been active in leadership and fundraising roles with Stamford-based SoundWaters.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with the NRVT team and the five towns to help bring this dream to life. The environment is my passion and this is a great way to have an impact right in our own backyard,” Taney says.

Taney’s early work focuses on meeting with key stakeholders in each community and identifying tasks to support the goals of a five-town steering committee. A priority is to oversee a $1.2 million grant—from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection–to design and construct the trail from Wolfpit Rd. in Wilton to Grist Mill Rd. in Norwalk. Fundraising for the shovel-ready projects in Wilton and Redding is also high on Taney’s list of objectives.

Pat Sesto of Ridgefield, president of the Friends of the NRVT, says Taney was unanimously selected as the trail’s first executive director, “…based on the wealth of experience he brings to the project.”

Wilton’s first selectman Lynne Vanderslice recognizes Taney’s extensive background in environmental causes and his commitment to open space initiatives will be an asset, especially as it helps moving the project along.

“The trail is becoming a wonderful asset for Wilton and we’d love to see more of it completed,” she says.

The Norwalk River Valley Trail is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit overseen by a steering committee of the residents of five towns, led by Norwalk’s Jim Carter, Wilton’s Rob McWilliams, Ridgefield’s Sesto, Redding’s Stuart Green and Danbury’s Kathy Miville.