While residents pondered and eventually overwhelmingly approved the proposal to purchase a conservation easement on 39.5 acres known as the Keiser family property, Wilton’s NRVT demonstration trail began its transformation.

Vermont-based Timber and Stone, LLC, led by Josh Ryan, has been focused on tree-clearing and excavation on the half-mile demonstration segment of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, and has even started surfacing a portion of it. According to Ryan, “parts of the trail are almost 75% there.” Significant progress, considering the groundbreaking ceremony took place less than a month ago.

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The Timber and Stone team describes its work as “conservation-minded construction” and takes a sustainable approach to trail design that considers the needs of all potential users in tandem with the unique, natural features of the land. “A lot of thought has gone into the layout of the demonstration trail,” Ryan explained. “In working closely with Pat Sesto, Wilton’s director of environmental affairs, and others, we designed a layout that not only celebrates and encourages appreciation of the landscape, but also maintains its natural state.”

The proposed NRVT will provide a 38-mile, multi-use trail (including loops) connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk and Rogers Park in Danbury. The half-mile segment from Danbury Rd. to Raymond Ln. will be the first part of the town’s eight-mile “Wilton Center Loop,” a trail with an east and west side that will wrap around town center.

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The tree-clearing that has taken place on the NRVT demonstration trail has been for the most part, removal of trees that have already fallen down. And, in keeping with its commitment to preservation, Timber and Stone has tied planks to the trunks of surrounding trees to protect them from passing machinery.

Part of the next phase – naturalization – will include blowing leaf litter to edge the trail, which will serve to prevent erosion. The seed source in these leaves will encourage further growth of the area’s native plants. It’s all part of what Ryan says is the most frequent – and most important and meaningful – compliment his team receives, that, “the finished trail looks like it’s always been there.”

If this phenomenal pace of progress continues, local residents should expect to be invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the trail in early winter. “I can’t wait to offer our community easy access to a place where they can truly ‘get away from it all,’ and experience nature,” said Sesto.

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