Jack Frost just didn’t want to say goodbye. A dusting of snow over spring break had many residents shuddering in disbelief, but now with the gentle rising of the mercury, most are flinging the windows open and heading outside.

As of Saturday, April 26, when the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) will celebrate the official opening of the Demonstration Trail in Wilton from 9 a.m.–noon, Wilton residents are going to have even more outdoor recreational opportunities, thanks to generous support from the local community and the diligent efforts of Vermont-based Timber and Stone, LLC, led by Josh Ryan

“We have a very fun day planned and can’t wait to have the community come out and experience the trail firsthand,” said Patricia Sesto, Wilton’s director of environmental affairs. “The completion of the Wilton Demonstration Trail is a significant milestone and will provide the public a glimpse of what we envision the full NRVT will one day become.”

The NRVT is focused on building 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk and Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding along the way. The newly completed Demonstration Trail runs 0.5 miles from Rt. 7 to Raymond Ln., and makes up the first section of the planned east side of NRVT’s “Wilton Loop.”

The next phase for Wilton would extend the demonstration trail up to Pimpewaug Rd. as soon as funding is in place. Future expansion of the east side of the loop includes trail stretching toward Cannondale Village, leading behind the Wilton YMCA and eventually meeting up with the Wilton Loop’s west side at Allen’s Meadows Park. The trail would then continue north toward Redding and Ridgefield. 

Continued progress in Wilton hinges upon the involvement of the community; an estimated $1.5 million is needed to complete the project.

Some of Wilton’s most generous philanthropists will be on hand on April 26 at the Blue Buffalo-sponsored ceremony to welcome attendees. Betsy and Jesse Fink, who kicked off the Demonstration Trail fundraising efforts with a challenge grant, will be in attendance as will contributors Greg and Gina Jansen. Timber and Stone’s Ryan will be available as well to answer questions about his process.

Guests will also be treated to a host of fun activities throughout the day. The “Paws on Parade” dog walk will start at 10 a.m.; a “Spuds on a Spoon” challenge will take place at 11 a.m.; and a raffle, with multiple prize drawings will close the event at noon. The not-to-be-missed NRVT Treasure Hunt with GPS coordinates and old-fashioned clues will be ongoing throughout the morning.

“We are very much looking forward to showing off the results of Timber and Stone’s very hard labor to our neighbors on Saturday,” said Sesto. “Josh has already seen several families on the trail, who have expressed great enthusiasm that our town will offer this trail system. The generous support of our event by local vendors is proof that the community overall is excited about the Demonstration Trail. We have great prizes and giveaways donated by Outdoor Sports Center, Cycling Sports Group, Blue Buffalo, Hello Yoga, Les Petits Cuisots, Master Robert, Moore Fitness, Naked Greens, The Painted Cookie, Patagonia, Peachwave, Sassy Jo’s, Scoops, Siggi’s Yogurt, The Well, Wilton Sports & Fitness, and The Wilton Family YMCA.”

Parking for this Saturday’s event will be located in the commuter lot, adjacent to Orem’s Diner and the intersection of Rt. 7 and Wolfpit Rd.. Visitors should proceed to the ceremony via the Wolfpit and Rt. 7 crosswalks and the short section of trail to Gaylord Dr. North. At press time, the forecast looks perfect for heading outdoors, taking a stroll along Wilton’s Demonstration Trail, and perhaps even winning a prize!

If you are interested in more information or supporting the Norwalk River Valley Trail, please visit NRVT’s website, Facebook page, or Twitter.