Reps. Callahan, Chaleski Receive Update on Margerie Trail Planning

Posted on November 13, 2023

Danbury, Conn.State Representatives Patrick Callahan (R-New Fairfield) and Rachel Chaleski (R-Danbury) met recently with Danbury Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola to hear about progress on planning Margerie Trail, a 2.5-mile multi-modal trail along Margerie Lake Reservoir from Danbury to New Fairfield. The project is administered through a joint task force of representatives from the City of Danbury and the Town of New Fairfield.

“I’m excited that the task force has been making progress in the planning phase for this multi-use recreation asset for the surrounding residents. I will work to help secure additional state resources to get the design and construction phases of the project off the ground,” said Callahan.

State grant funding was awarded in July 2022 for planning.

“This multi-use path will promote a healthy lifestyle and be a win for both communities. Many people at both local and state levels have advocated for this project and I look forward to helping to see it through to fruition,” said Chaleski.

The task force recently signed off on a contact for surveying and wetlands delineation, but the state must still approve the vendor. The next RFP being put out to bid is for the design of the proposed trail, a portion of which may be elevated because of the wetlands and pristine vernal pools in the area and will seek landscaping and structural engineering services. Different paths around the reservoir and Route 37 will be vetted by the task force.

“There are some challenges, which were identified early on, including having to avoid the FEMA 100-Year Flood Zone surrounding Margerie Lake Reservoir and the high-speed traffic of Route 37 drivers,” said Callahan.

One proposed concept shows a path along the Route 37 right-of-way where feasible within the City of Danbury and closer to the reservoir north of Colonial Road, along with scenic overlooks throughout.

A Western Connecticut Council of Government’s Route 37 Corridor Study detailed that parking could be provided across from Bear Mountain Road in Danbury. There’s an open field within the reservoir property, outside the flood plain, that could accommodate about 100 spaces. The northern end of the proposed concept area is opposite New Fairfield Town Hall and existing parking lots at town-owned ball fields.

“Margerie Trail could in the future be a hub to make one contiguous trail with the adjacent Bear Mountain Reserve, Dunham Pond, Squantz Pond State Park, and the Appalachian Trail,” said Chaleski.

The reservoir provides Danbury with part of its drinking water supply. Fishing is currently allowed on the lake, but swimming and recreational boating are not. The state Departments of Transportation, Public Health, and Energy and Environmental Protection will have to be consulted about the best way to preserve the reservoir.