Madison Trail Update November 2010

November 14, 2010

Madison Begins Boardwalk Construction

After four years and eleven different permits, certifications, reviews, and approvals, the Shoreline Greenway Trail began construction of the boardwalk to bridge the marsh between the Hammonasset Park entrance road and the trail skirting the campground. The first step was to install the helical support piers seen in this picture, a technology designed to do as little damage as possible to the marsh. A large auger is screwed into the ground to a level that will support the required weight. The walkway framing will be wood with decking of Thru Flo™, a material that allows approximately 88 percent of available light to penetrate to the marsh. The Madison Team anticipates the walkway will be completed before the end of the year.


MADISON, CT Incorporated 1826/Population 18,000+

The eastern trailhead of the 25-mile Trail is in Madison at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut’s largest and most visited shoreline park. (The Trail’s western trailhead is at Lighthouse Point on New Haven Harbor).

Congressman Joe Courtney Walks the Trail

Congressman Joe Courtney visited the Hammonasset section of the trail recently to view the first section of finished Shoreline Greenway Trail in his district and to congratulate the Madison Team on their achievements.Members of the Madison Team shown here with Joe (left front) are Ginny Raff and Perry Rianhard. Rear from left, Madison Selectman Al Goldberg, Dick Fagan, Ted Raff, and John Paulson.

Finished Trail Section Opens in Madison!

The new trail surface in use

Madison’s  first segment of trail to be completed with its final topping runs beside the campground in Hammonasset State Park. The surface was installed the first week of April. Although it will need more rolling and compacting after a good rainfall, it is already very pleasant for biking and walking.

First Saturday Walk in Madison

Forty hearty souls came to Madison Constitution Park on a cloudy cool day in May to learn about the town’s newest park, the former Griswold Airport property. Shannon Schiesser explained the ecological importance of the area while John Picard pointed out the many birds nesting there or flying through on their way north. Bill McCullough told about the plans of the ad hoc committee for the park to develop the property for a variety of uses as well as conservation of valuable natural resources. Don Rankin added information about the geology of the park.

Trail Development

Trail work in Madison is concentrated on the section in Hammonasset Beach State Park crossing an undeveloped area that is spectacularly beautiful. We have a very active trail building and maintenance program run by dedicated volunteers. We hold trail work sessions frequently.  In coming weeks we will be preparing the trail for topping and clearing invasive vines to liberate the trees and shrubbery along the trail. If you would like to be notified of work schedules and join us, please send a message by  Clicking here.

One of many beautiful scenes along the trail

Trail Section Update

Even though the whole length of trail in Hammonasset Park is not finished, it is very walk able and ski-able. We have even had intrepid bikers on the unfinished parts trail. The bird watching is excellent.

  • The trail that has not been finished is cleared and covered with geo-textile fabric and the first layer of heavy process stone.
  • Wetlands and flood permits have been obtained.
  • Next steps will be to finish putting down the final layer of stone, connecting the two segments across the short stretch along the Post Road, and building the boardwalk across the marsh at the park entrance road.

Trail Access: Until we build the boardwalk, this trail section can be accessed by walking through the Hammonasset campground, or from the Post Road between Webster Point Road and the park entrance. Parking is allowed on the grassy strip along the Post Road as long as the car is fully off the pavement.

Many Words of Thanks

The Madison Team was thrilled to received word recently that The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has made a grant of $60,000 over three years to help build the trail section in Hammonasset. The second and third years of the grant are in the form of a challenge requiring that we raise funds to be matched by the Foundation.

We also received a generous grant of $50,000 from the Dorr Foundation in honor of Shirley Punzelt upon her retirement from their board of trustees.

Progress to this point on this section has been made possible by a major grant from Anthem Blue Cross as well as generous grants from the Madison Newcomers Club and the Madison Jaycees and donations from many individuals. We have about half of the funding we need to complete this section and are deeply grateful to all for the support.

We are also grateful to the staffs of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and of Hammonasset Beach State Park for their abundant assistance and advice as we work our way through the permitting process and across the Park property.

Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society

The group takes a much-deserved break to bond over warm drinks and tasty snacks.

And we deeply appreciate all the volunteers who work on the trail. Despite snow and cold in early January, members of Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society came to the Hammonasset section of the trail to clear brush and invasive vines. Twenty-one workers of all ages, about half youth and half adults joined the effort. The group coordinator Ann Kadlecek commented, “It looks cold, but when you get to work, you warm up quickly and realize this is a great time to be out in the woods working. It was a beautiful day.” Trail Maintenance Chair John Paulson expressed sincere thanks on behalf of all members of the Madison trail team. This same group worked on a section of the trail in East Haven last spring.

Heroic Owl Rescue on the Trail

Greenway just after first rescue

Every once in a while working or walking on the trail, you may get a special treat. A couple of years ago a walker came upon a little ball of fuzz that turned out to be a baby great horned owl fallen out of its nest. The owl was immediately dubbed Greenway. Our guess is that Greenway’s parents set up housekeeping in a secondhand nest left by smaller birds. Owls are known to be lazy about nest building. Greenway simply grew bigger than the original occupants, and the nest could not support him. Wind Over Wings came to the rescue, checked the baby over, and installed him on a portable platform high in a tree overlooking the trail. The owl parents returned and continued to nurture their offspring, but Greenway went over the side again.

Greenway ready to fledge

His second rescue team came from A Place Called Hope. This time they installed a bigger platform giving Greenway more room to maneuver. They placed it higher in the tree with more shade and a railing to prevent Greenway from toppling a third time. His parents returned and continued to feed him as he progressed from that first fuzzy ball to a full-grown owl about 18 inches tall. When last seen he was hopping from branch to branch which is the usual stage just before owls are fully fledged.

Now two years later, there is an owl again on the platform presumably tending a nest. It may be Greenway’s mom or even Greenway. In any case, it is a treat to see.

Madison Video Featured on Channel 18

Videographer Lynne Charles created a beautiful video about building the Trail in Hammonasset. The video was shown on Madison’s local access TV Channel 18, and we are delighted to be able to now offer it on the web site. Thanks to Lynne for this superb work.

Volunteer Opportunities in Madison

HELP STRATEGIZE TO RAISE CHALLENGE FUNDS for our generous challenge grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

JOIN THE VOLUNTEER TRAIL MAINTENANCE TEAM to prepare the trail for final topping, remove invasive vines, even eradicate phragmites

Help to PLAN OUR FIRST BIKE EVENT  a Bike Safety Rodeo.

TALK TO LOCAL GROUPS about Madison’s spectacular Trail at Hammonasset Beach State Park. Orientation & Power Point provided. Flexible time.

MANAGE the MADISON PAGE of the Web Site

Also, please check the VOLUNTEER section of our website for volunteer opportunities to serve the whole 4-town trail.

Madison Team Meetings

All those who wish to promote the trail in Madison are welcome to join us on the second Thursday of most months (but not all). We have changed our meeting time and place from evenings to mornings at 10:00 AM in Room B at Town Campus. Since we sometimes do not meet or the town changes our venue, please Contact Us to request that your name be added to our meeting information list or to volunteer to help build the Trail.