June 9, 2014 11:00AM
By Jeff Gebeau
Area towns will observe Connecticut Trails Day Weekend with an assortment of hikes and other events Saturday and Sunday. The weekend is sponsored by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association.
Meriden will observe the weekend with three events. On Saturday at 10 a.m., the Connecticut Greenways Council will officially recognize the Hanover Pond Trail as a designated state greenway. The ceremony will be followed by a tour of the trail’s trees led by Peter Picone, wildlife biologist with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Quinnipiac River Watershed Association will host canoe rides on the Quinnipiac River beginning at 11 a.m.
Also on Saturday, the Meriden Land Trust and the Forest & Park Association are sponsoring a three-mile hike of the Metacomet Trail and South Mountain at 8:45 a.m. The path contains uneven terrain and gradual inclines with breathtaking views of the Merrimere Reservoir, Bell Island, East Peak and Castle Craig. Participants should meet hike leaders Robert Pagini and Dwight Needels in Hubbard Park’s main lot, near the playground.
The event will be a “leisurely, educational hike,” Pagini said. “We’re gonna talk a little bit about geology and flora and fauna, and of course there’s always the reward at the end with the view.”
On Sunday, hiking stalwarts can join the Forest & Park Association for an 11-mile journey, that includes the Metacomet and New England trails. The trek will pass Castle Craig and West Peak and features steep topography. Participants should meet John Rek, an association volunteer trail manager, at the east end of the Target parking lot on Chamberlain Highway. Questions should be directed to Rek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three events will take place in Southington. The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency is hosting a bike ride on “the beautiful Southington section” of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, in the words of event co-leader Liz Esposito. Riders will pass through a seven-mile mix of developed and natural areas of town. Participants should meet Esposito and co-leader Tim Malone at the dog park on Mill Street and wear a helmet. Call Esposito at (860) 589-7820 with questions or to preregister as recommended.
The Southington Land Trust and state chapter of the Green Mountain Club will sponsor a Saturday hike of the Compounce Ridge Trail at 9:30 a.m. Notable geographic features on the six-mile journey include Norton Outlook, Julian’s Rock and Libby’s Lump. Participants should bring hiking boots, lunch and water and should meet hike leader Carol Langley at the trail-head off Panthorn Trail, which is off Mt. Vernon Road. Contact Langley at (860) 877-4449 or email@example.com with questions or to preregister, which is recommended. The hike will be canceled in the event of rain.
The Will Parker Memorial Hike will be held on the Orange Trail at Crescent Lake Sunday from 10 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., sponsored by the Southington Land Trust. The two to three-mile family-friendly trek goes around and overlooks Crescent Lake and contains some moderate inclines and declines. Participants are to meet hike leaders Irene and Fred Murray at the Crescent Lake parking area on Meadow Road and are advised to have appropriate footwear, water and a snack. Preregistration is recommended. Contact Irene at firstname.lastname@example.org. The hike will be canceled if it rains.
Cheshire also has two Trails Day events. On Saturday at 9 a.m., the town’s Environment Commission is sponsoring a three-mile hike of newly restored trails of the 89-acre Casertano Property, one of the municipal open spaces. The course affords spectacular views of Meriden’s Hanging Hills. Registration for the hike is closed, according to Suzanne Simone, the town’s environmental planner.
On Sunday, the Cheshire Land Trust will hold a one-mile, one-hour hike of its 33-acre Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. The event offers the opportunity to learn about the land trust’s work and the parcel’s history, as well as bird-watching in the property’s meadowlands. Participants should meet hike leaders Rick Marinaro and Mark Kasinskas at 10 a.m. in the parking area along Cook Hill Road, between Corliss Lane and Fenn Road. Contact Marinaro at (203) 806-5165 or email@example.com with questions or to preregister, which is recommended.
Wallingford has one Trails Day event scheduled, a 1.5 mile “sensory walk” along the Green Trail at the Tyler Mill Preserve that is designed for children aged 5 to 12 and their parents. Environmental Planner Erin O’Hare, members of the town’s Conservation Commission and town library staff will expose participants to the sounds, smells and textures of the season throughout the relaxed hike, which is sponsored by the commission and library. They will also discuss the area’s natural history. Children and parents should meet O’Hare on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the preserve’s parking area on Tyler Mill Road, off Northford Road. Preregistration is appreciated and can be done at wallingfordlibrary.org. Questions should be directed to Heffernon at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event’s rain date is Sunday, 10 a.m.
Walk participants will be treated to a “sensory experience of spring,” said Heffernon, a commission member and librarian. “And it looks like the weather is supposed to be pretty good.”