The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the planned reopening of the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail on Saturday, June 29, 2019. The southern entrance to the trail has been closed due to a nesting Bald Eagle and due to the on-going redevelopment of the former Montgomery Mills building by Beacon Communities LLC.
The trail can now be reopened from the south and signage will direct visitors to parking and the trail entrance, which is being redesigned to accommodate the new residential apartments in the Montgomery Mills building. Vehicle travel will no longer be permitted along the towpath between the canal and the mill.
Since last summer DEEP and The Windsor Locks Canal Company (owned by Ahlstrom-Munksjo) have been working diligently to address insurance issues surrounding the public use of this property. The Windsor Locks Canal Company leases this land to DEEP at no cost for public recreational purposes and permitted its use in advance of DEEP addressing the insurance issues last summer. DEEP has secured the insurance needed to keep the trail open.
This week, DEEP crews worked to clear growth along the edge of the trail to ensure trail users will have the best recreational experience in anticipation of the reopening of the southern entrance to the trail on Saturday.
DEEP and the recreating public commend the good faith shown by The Windsor Locks Canal Company and appreciate the support of the two host communities, Windsor Locks and Suffield, during the reduction in access to this important 4 ½ mile trail along the scenic Connecticut River.
“Saturday is a celebration for the recreating public of north-central Connecticut and citizens across the State,” said Commissioner Katie Dykes. “There are few places in New England where you can pass a revitalized mill that is within walking distance to a commuter rail line and be on a serene trail along a canal and a beautiful river.” Commissioner Dykes also said: “We want to thank The Windsor Locks Canal Company for working with DEEP to make this unique trail available to the public without compensation and we thank Beacon Communities for investing in Connecticut. The iconic Montgomery Mills building can once again be a symbol of pride for the Windsor Locks community.”
Christopher Kervick, First Selectman of Windsor Locks, joined Commissioner Dykes in celebrating the reopening by stating: “We are pleased to fully open this outstanding recreational and cultural resource. We thank our partners from DEEP and Ahlstrom-Munksjo for their efforts in making this happen. We also appreciate the cooperation of Beacon Communities in coordinating this opening with its ongoing construction activities at the Montgomery Mill.”
Melissa Mack, First Selectman of Suffield, also joined Commissioner Dykes in celebrating the full opening of the trail and she said: “I’m delighted that we have so many great things to celebrate this weekend in Suffield – the reopening of both Kent Memorial Library and the Canal Trail is such good news and improvements to the services provided to Suffield residents. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of everything Suffield has to offer!”
Representative Jane Garibay remarked: “This is an exciting time for Windsor Locks. Great things happen when people work together and this is a great example. I can’t wait to walk the trail!!”
Representative Tami Zawistowski remarked: “The Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail offers recreational opportunities to Suffield and Windsor Locks as well as a chance to see and learn more about the plants and wildlife that thrive along this portion of the Connecticut River. Thanks to DEEP and the private companies involved for again making this important trail available for public use, and to the Friends of the Windsor Locks Canal Trail for its years-long commitment for its important work in maintaining the trail.”