From Dream to Reality
It all began in the mid 1990s when several Litchfield bikers were riding a trail on Nantucket and one of them asked: “Why can’t Litchfield have something like this?”
That simple question led to what is now, the Litchfield Community Greenway. Through perseverance, a small group of dedicated community members overcame numerous obstacles and have created a trail that is now more than two miles long and growing every year.
The Friends of the Litchfield Community Greenway—the all-volunteer group behind the Greenway—has created a trail that follows the railbed of the historic Shepaug Railway that operated between Litchfield and Danbury from 1878 through 1948. That railbed was acquired by Connecticut Light and Power, now Eversource Energy, when the railroad went bankrupt. Through an agreement with Eversource, the Greenway will follow that railbed all the way to the border with Morris.
Phase I of the Greenway, beginning at the intersection of South Lake Street, Russell Street, and Gallows Lane, and continuing on to Whites Woods Road, opened in 2010. Phase II proceeds through the White Memorial Conservation Center on their existing trails to where it exits onto Bissell Road. White Memorial has been an enthusiastic supporter and partner with the Friends of the Litchfield Community Greenway from the beginning. Phase III of the Greenway runs from where the White Memorial trail exits onto Bissell Road and continues to its current terminus at North Shore Road.
Phase III of the Greenway runs from where the White Memorial trail exits onto Bissell Road and continues to its current terminus at North Shore Road. Phase III includes two significant achievements. The first was the building of a bridge, “The Bridge to Everywhere,” over Butternut Brook and making possible for the first time, travel toward Bantam without users having to walk or ride on the shoulder of busy Route 202. The second major accomplishment was the building of a 400+ foot boardwalk along Bissell Road wetlands to an entrance into White Memorial. This was done with all volunteer labor in the Fall of 2021 and includes a crosswalk with push button, solar powered, flashing crossing lights.
What’s next? Our current project is to complete a section of trail in early 2023 from the former Shepaug Railroad station on Russell Street—now being renovated by the Litchfield Land Trust—continuing south to the intersection with South Lake Street, where it will connect with the Phase I trailhead. This will bring the Greenway even closer to the center of Litchfield and will include parking and a landscaped trailhead. Beyond that, the Greenway will continue from North Shore Road to Route 209/Bantam Lake Road in the center of Bantam, and then on to Stoddard Road at the Litchfield/Morris town line. In the future, the Friends of the Litchfield Community Greenway hope that the Greenway will connect to the extensive trail system being built in Washington by the Steep Rock Association, becoming part of a larger trail network.
As a non-profit 501c3 organization, The Friends of the Litchfield Community Greenway, the all-volunteer organization overseeing the development of the Greenway, has received no funding from any governmental agency. With help from supporters like you, our work will continue.