Friday, January 14, 2011

Wilton Closes Rogue Trails in Town Forest

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Credit Christian Camerota
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Blazing one's own trail isn't always a good thing.

To protect wildlife and promote hiker safety Wilton's Conservation Commission closed several trails in the Town Forest located between Branch Brook Road and Boas Lane. Park users began blazing their own trails more than 10 years ago said Wilton's Director of Environmental Affairs Pat Sesto.

"In the past decade or so new trails were created," Sesto said. "Now there are too many trails for the acreage."

"The problems are that rogue trails bisect areas of the park that should remain undisturbed to provide habitat for wildlife," according to the WCC's fall newsletter.

These untamed trails not only pose a problem to the forest's fauna, they can lead some hikers astray, Sesto said. Also, because they aren't official trails, emergency workers could have difficulty finding injured hikers.

"And in the northern end people were getting lost. Now, this is Wilton, so we didn't have to send search and rescue," Sesto said. "But it's an annoyance and for some people it's disconcerting."

To help determine where to close trails the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (CT NEMBA) mapped the entire network. That information helped the WCC determine which portion of trails to permanently close.

Residents can now enjoy the outer loop and certain cross trails. As always, people can hike, bike and walk with leashed dogs along more than 8 miles of trails.

Trail Ambassador David Francefort, who was recognized for his work by the WCC last year, did the work. "Trail Closed" signs are now posted throughout the forest and trail markings have been removed from trees and rocks.

Francefort couldn't be reached for comment.

Over time the overused and overrun areas will return to their natural state, Sesto said. And for the most part residents are taking the closures in stride.

"There have been only a few complaints about the closures," she said.
Wilton Closes Rogue Trails in Town Forest
41.231436
-73.446676
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Wilton Closes Rogue Trails in Town Forest
Town Forest
158 Branch Brook Rd, Wilton, CT
/listings/town-forest
47886
/locations/3052156

Wilton's Conservation Commission blocks off untamed trails to preserve the area's flora and fauna and protect visitors.
By Cathryn J. Prince | Email the author | 5:46am