Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Means Brook Greenway Trail System

You've probably never heard of the Means Brook Greenway, but we hope that changes. It includes Nicholdale Farm, Willis Woods,  Pearmain Preserve, and more.

New map of the greenway

Print out a full-page Greenway Map HERE (posted along with all the other trail maps at sheltonconservation.org under the "Trails" tab).

What's a greenway?  Many people think that a greenway is a type of trail, as in the "Derby Greenway," and sometimes that's true. But not every greenway has a trail, and some have more than one trail. Merriam Webster defines a greenway as "a strip of undeveloped land near an urban area, set aside for recreational use or environmental protection." That strip of land might be 20 feet wide and consist entirely of a trail, or it may be a 500 yards wide and have no trails. As long as it's a protected corridor of greenspace, it's a greenway.

Shelton's Greenway System: Shelton has a system of interconnected conceptual greenways that were first outlined in the 1993 Open Space Plan, mostly following our waterways. One of these was the Means Brook Greenway, which follows Means Brook for nearly five miles from the Monroe Border to where it empties into the Far Mill River near Huntington Center. The greenway was "conceptual" because most of it was not actually protected in 1993 when the first Open Space Plan was drafted. Much of this greenway has since been preserved in various ways, sometimes private and other times public, including the Pearmain Preserve property which was purchased with the help of a state grant in 2018.

The Means Brook trail system is maintained by a cooperative effort between the Shelton Land Conservation Trust (a private, non-profit group) and the City of Shelton's Trails Committee. The trails cross a patchwork of conservation properties, some owned by the Land Trust or City of Shelton outright. Some of the properties are remain in private hands protected by easements, however, so it's important for people to remain on the blazed trails and respect the property owners. Also, hunting may occur on these lands, so hikers should wear bright colors in Autumn.

Public Access: The main parking area for the Nicholdale Farm and the Means Brook trail system is at #324 Leavenworth Road (Rt 110), with two additional parking areas located nearby, including a small pulloff on the north side of Leavenworth Road at the beginning of Stockmal Trail. Care should be taken when parking or crossing Leavenworth Road because cars are often travelling at 50 mph. The Nicholdale-Willis Woods Connector Trail leads to the highway crossing location with the best sight lines.

Future possibilities: On the greenway map you may notice a property called "Trombetta Woods" just over the river from the end of Stockmal Trail. That's a good-size piece of city open space without public access. If we can find a way to cross Means Brook, then Stockmal Trail could be extended. But this is a river that really floods, and the property is owned by the Aquarion Water Company, so it would need a substantial bridge and special permission would be needed cross that property.  There are serious obstacles to extending Stockmal Trail, but it's something we've looked at.

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