Volunteers Working To Reinvigorate 'Lost' Trail System In Woods At Hartford Park
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer
November 28, 2007
In an effort to make Hartford's Keney Park more attractive and enjoyable, a group of volunteers has uncovered an original trail that had been hidden by brush, weeds and debris for several decades.
The 2-mile trail, which was freshly blazed by a group of volunteers from the nonprofit Leadership Greater Hartford, is one of dozens of trails laid out by Frederick Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York.
"We want to make this a place where people can escape from the city," said Henry Hester, vice president of Friends of Keney Park, which helped with the project.
After years of neglect, Olmsted's trails had disappeared into the growth of the woods. Judith Barlow-Roberts, one of the volunteers for Leadership Greater Hartford, said clearing the path involved lots of "physical labor."
"We cleared it," she said, "using pick axes, digging up roots, cutting back brush, raking and clearing the path, cutting down overhanging ivy. Then we marked it and expanded it and widened it."
In the process, she said, they uncovered old wooden bridges and stone steps that had long been forgotten.
The same group hopes to continue uncovering the park's "lost" trail system, Hester said. As part of the project, the group is working on creating a Keney Park website.
The uncovered trail, located near the Windsor access road to the park, is labeled the "Leadership Trail" by a new sign. It opened officially at a ribbon cutting Tuesday attended by Mayor Eddie A. Perez and state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy.
"It is great to have a park that has basketball and golf, but it is also great to have a park where you can get away and do nothing," McCarthy said. "Just have some nice clean air to breathe and nice trails to walk on."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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