Plainfield Trailblazers

 

PLAINFIELD TRAILBLAZERS

Over the fields and through the woods t' the river we go...

 Picture thanks to Brad Thompson

In response to a strong community interest for an organized trail system, a volunteer trail group was formed at "The Upper Valley 2001 and Beyond - Plainfield Community Profile" in November 1996. The Plainfield residents desire a sense of community, protecting open space and vistas, maintaining rural character, and developing an access to the Connecticut River.

The Trailblazers work closely with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance in their efforts to expand the trail networks available in the area.

EXAMPLE OF THE WORK THAT IS DONE TO MAINTAIN THE TRAILS

BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES OF TRAIL CLEAN UP AT THE MERIDEN BIRD SANCTUARY

 

Mission:

A volunteer-based trail group will provide recreational, educational, health fitness, social and alternative transportation opportunities to Plainfield's residents on an organized trail system, which encompasses the diversity of landscape and land use in this rural community. Increase the sense of community and community interest by promoting the interaction of residents from all areas of Plainfield.

Vision:

A well-mapped network of trails and greenways will be established by a volunteer trail association in the Town of Plainfield to provide recreation opportunities for each major trail use; preserve wildlife habitat; help protect water quality; link town centers with the area's natural and cultural resources to create a more cohesive community; provide educational, health fitness and social opportunities; and create open space for all to enjoy.

Types of experience will vary from hilltop hikes to roadside bike paths, from snowmobile trails to country walks through active farmland. All trails and greenways will be maintained and new areas located and developed according to high standards, which are environmentally friendly, emphasize the safety of the user and, where practical, accommodate multiple use. Adequate public information and signage will be provided to help locate and use the system. Where possible, the trails and greenways in this network will provide for alternative transportation and loop opportunities.

    Long-term Goals:
  • Establish a backbone trail connecting the villages of Meriden and Plainfield.
  • Provide a trail link to the Connecticut River Access.
  • Develop trail links to features of special interest.
  • Develop a strong sense of community.

    Short-term Goals:
  • Identify, maintain and encourage appropriate use of existing trails
  • Inventory and maintain vistas and places of special interest
  • Establish suitable trailhead facilities.

 

Making Those Trail Connections:

Picture thanks to Carin Reynolds 

Plainfield Trailblazers Community Bridge Project

Ira and Sara Townsend Bridge

The December 2006 dedication of the Ira and Sara Townsend trail bridge marked the end of a year-long project that embodied the best qualities of our community: cooperation, volunteerism and a deep appreciation for the beautiful environment we live in. Located behind the Plainfield School and accessible by a short trail through the woods, the bridge greatly enhances opportunities for fitness, educational and wellness programs at the Plainfield School, and provides access to the extensive Frenchs Ledges trail network. Sixty-five feet in length, the bridge spans the Bloods Brook floodplain and is designed to last for several generations of Plainfield outdoor enthusiasts. The Community Bridge Project was conceived and organized by a group of individuals known as the Plainfield Trailblazers. The group scouted a location for the bridge, built trails, raised money for materials, obtained the necessary permits, permissions and easements, designed the bridge, coordinated projects and volunteer labor and worked countless hours building the bridge and trail network. The project depended on the involvement and generosity of many different individuals who volunteered their time and expertise, as well as of many organizations in the community, including Kimball Union Academy, the Town Selectboard, the Plainfield Conservation Commission, the Plainfield School Board and the Meriden Village Water District. On December 5th, people from these organizations along with many other townspeople joined the entire school in a festive ceremony celebrating the completion of the Project and honoring Ira and Sara for their conservation ethic. Without them the trail system would not exist as it is today.

Looking Forward:

2014 Update: Since the establishment of the trail network behind the Plainfield Elementary School, much emphasis from trail volunteers and trail users has shifted to this great community resource. While other trail opportunities exist in town, they are currently much less utilized. If you are interested in volunteering to care for "French's Ledges Trail Network" located behind the school, please contact:

Bill Knight theshow@tds.net or Carin Reynolds carin.reynolds@gmail.com

As you may or may not know, the Meriden trails network are maintained by a loosely organized group of interested folks that initially focused on creating a new winter trail system. The network has expanded and has become the primary Plainfield Trailblazers four season multi-use trail project. This group of volunteers were energized in 2006 by raising money and building the beautiful Ira and Sara Townsend bridge over the brook that was the catalyst that got the whole trail system up and running, connecting town land, school land, KUA land, conservation land, and many privately owned acres of land.  Over the years we have expanded the trail system, added signage, and built trails that can not only be hiked on, biked on, and run on,but also skied and snowshoed on (with your dogs no less!).  We now groom up to 15k of trails.  All of this has been done through private fundraising, and hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours.  The community has been incredibly invested in and involved in this effort. 

Carin Reynolds

603-276-9250