Conference aim to help connect bike trails from NYC to Montreal

Posted
Wednesday November 16, 2011

STEPHANIE L. RYAN

News Editor

BENNINGTON -- Bicyclists, the trail may be coming to you.

Sal Lilienthal, of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, based in Connecticut and Massachusetts, said the group is working with the Lake Champlain National Heritage Area, based in Vermont and New York, to create the Western New England Greenway, a proposed bicycle route linking New York City to Montreal, through Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

A conference with that goal in mind will take place Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Bennington Museum, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"We chose the Bennington Museum as the location because we wanted the event to be in Vermont, to encourage participants from Vermont to attend, because they'll have a critical part in the project," Lilienthal said. Bennington is also fairly central to the project geographically, he said, noting with a laugh that the Connecticut delegation will have less distance to travel than will people coming down from Burlington.

Safe, scenic roads

The Western New England Greenway Conference is aimed at connecting existing trails, connecting trails to the East Coast greenway and to routes in Quebec. "The idea is a bike trail; it's mostly for cycling, but you can walk it," Lilienthal said. The route is intended to cover safe, scenic roads, partnering with local communities to promote economic development.

"We're trying to bring in Vermont Tourism, Bikewalk, Vermont (transportation), Connecticut transportation, bike shops and city planners," as well as cycling citizens, Lilienthal said. "If someone from Bennington is interested in cycling and wants to be part of the group, they can come. We're looking for people who can help out," he said.

At present, Lilienthal said, the plan is simply to connect trails and put up signs indicating their location. At some future point, actual improvements to the trails could be considered, and if that happens, funding would be sought.

Would-be attendees are encouraged to register, at http://www.upperhousatonicheritage.org/index.php?catId=6&subCatId=58.

For more information, call 413-394-9773 or e-mail Programs@HousatonicHeritage.org


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