GREENWAY STATUS REPORT
Fund-raising for the Greenway
The first seed funding for the development of the Still River Greenway was a River Restoration grant from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in 1996. The grant provided funding for the design and installation of the environmental restoration demonstrations, along with trail construction and environmental signage.
The second funding source was a fund-raising drive conducted in 1999-2000 for the pedestrian bridge over the River at the trailhead area of the Greenway. After five years of planning, design, permitting, and fundraising, the first pedestrian bridge for the Still River Greenway was finally constructed in 2001. An aggressive fundraising campaign successfully recruited generous corporate sponsors to donate to the bridge construction (see the complete list here) .
A third funding source was secured funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for the construction of a boat ramp behind the Marriott Hotel on Eagle Road in 2004. It features a walkway from the parking lot of the hotel to a ramp location that is conducive to launching canoes and kayaks. Peg Daley and Mark Cummings installed the first sign at the canoe/kayak trail at the boat site.
A fourth funding program, was a Recreational Trails Grant from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, installed a handicap accessible walkway in the trail head area.
Funds were also raised in 2006 to install a “Still River History Wall” at the trailhead area of the Greenway in 2004.
Finally, the most current fund-raising program has leveraged a $33,000. Recreational Trails Grant from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) awarded in 2011 to establish a Still River Stewardship program. This program has recruited 14 sponsors to adopt a section of the Greenway, adopt a function of the Greenway or to provide a financial donation. To date, the financial donations have raised $45,500 for the long term maintenance and promotion of the Greenway to the public.
Environmental Restoration Demonstrations - Installed!
The Still River Greenway project went into construction in September 1999. Despite the heartbreaking timing of being hit by the "400 Year Storm" in the middle of the construction period, the project succeeded and all environmental restoration demonstration projects are installed!
The following links will lead you to a photo gallery and provide a portrait of the construction for each of the three floodplain zones, along with the Shoreline Stabilization Project.
Each project zone opens with a brief explanation of the purpose and location of the project scope for the site, with references to other sections of this website.
Zone 1 Installation
Shoreline Stabilization off Zone 2 Floodplain
Native Gardens Installed!
As part of the 2011 Recreational Trails grant, four native gardens have been designed on the Still River Greenway. These gardens are intended to be a demonstration of how small plots of native plants can provide a healthier ecological diversity amidst a sea of invasive species.
“On September 19, 2013, the four gardens were successfully installed at the trailhead, near the shoreline of the pedestrian bridge (both sides of the bridge) and at the Branson Water Quality Basin. See video link below for a six minute showing of the planting of the gardens (along with the EEDay 2013 and the 2013 Celebration Day).”
Greenway Trail Completed
In 2010 we completed the walking trails that traverse the entire one mile section of the Greenway! Read more about what we've done here. In addition to the trail construction, easements were secured from five corporate landowners. These easements were donated to the City.
Community Celebration Day on the River
The Still River Alliance has sponsored River Celebration Days on the Greenway in 2001, 2010, and 2011. A variety of events are sponsored at these celebration days that are intended to bring citizens of our area to the river and the greenway to appreciate . The links within the list will take you to pictures; your browser's "back" button will return you here::
• Trail tours of each loop, by members of the Alliance
• Fishing Exhibition by Trout Unlimited, which featured fly fishing demonstrations
• Watershed Model Display by Candlewood Lake's educator showing how pollutants end up in receiving streams like the River
• Hourly flotilla/kayak runs, from the Marriott Hotel down to the oxbow at Stew Leonard's and back..
• Music events, including Pete Seeger’s Clearwater group, African Drumming, Danbury High School’s violin quartet, and Connecticut’s state troubadour.
• Photograph Contests
• Live Raptor displays by the Sharon Audubon Society
Our next River Celebration Day will be held on September 21, 2013. Many of the same activities will be held as in previous years. Stay tuned to this website for announcements of our upcoming venue.
Environmental Education on the Greenway.
One of the showcase themes of the Still River Greenway is environmental education. When the Greenway was installed, over two dozen environmental education signs were installed at various locations on the Greenway trail. Additionally, the Still River History Wall was installed that exhibits human interaction with the River. In addition to these passive means of education, the Park Avenue School has held classes on the Greenway to collect and identify bottom invertebrate samples from the River. Also, the Danbury Chamber of Commerce conducts a field visit to the trailhead area for its “Leadership Danbury” program, in July of each year, with a walk around the trailhead area, that aims to show the attendees the value of preserving an urban open space oasis, through explanations of the history and environmental dynamics of the river and its floodplain.
On September 19, 2013, the Still River Alliance sponsored the first Environmental Education Day on the Greenway. Four third grade classes from the Danbury Schools participated in the morning event. The general theme for the event is to enthuse youth to the value of learning about the environment on the outdoor setting of the Greenway. Various learning stations on the Greenway will included an invertebrate sampling site, fish collection and identification, live raptors, water sampling and flow measurements in the river, and environmental storytelling.
It is hoped that this program can continue on a year to year basis so that our environmental database will fill with observations in the future. If you are a school and would like to plan such an event contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A six minute video of our EEDay can be accessed at
the end of this section.
Finally, an environmental observation database was created in 2013. It will be a requirement on the EEDay for students to record their observations. From this pilot project, we hope to offer this database to other grade levels in the Danbury Schools, private schools and Western Connecticut State University. The Still River Alliance will be the gatekeeper of the database and it is hoped that this will be a long term log of what students of all ages have discovered in the River, in the floodplain and along the Greenway.
The experience of conducting the EEDay and integrating it with the environment education database will guide future programs which are intended to be run every year on the Greenway. LINK TO “READ MORE ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE DONE, HERE”
We have completed the construction of the fundamental backbone of the Greenway - the walking trails that traverse the 2.2 mile River corridor setting. The following points are the current features of existing hiking trails:
• The trails were constructed with a corps of volunteers from industry and conservation organizations in 1999 and 2000. The initial trailhead loop (Zone 2) was built by volunteers from GE Capital's Elfun program. Additional trail zones were constructed by volunteers from Branson Ultrasonics, GE Capital, the US Filter Corporation, and Pitney Bowes. Conservation Groups, including the HVA and Audubon Society, along with volunteers from The City of Danbury, also contributed to the effort.
• With the exception of the Handicapped Zone, there are no prepared trail surfaces - the trails were simply cleared of existing vegetative cover and debris. The Handicapped Access Zone at the trailhead is a bituminous (asphalt) surface with ADA compliant grades and handrails. The handicap access zone extends from the trailhead to the pedestrian bridge..
• The pedestrian bridge links the south side of the river (where the trailhead loop is located) to the north side of the river (where the trail continues northward to the end point). On the bridge, there is a premier view of the river, showcasing ripples, crystal clear water, the heavily shaded water surface and the shoreline structure. From the north end of the bridge (at the back of the Pitney Bowes parking lot), the bridge is handicap accessible to the point of the steps on the south side of the bridge. The short distance of handicap accessibility here provides disadvantaged individuals with the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the river from the top of the bridge.