Explore the Naugatuck!
September 20, 2012 For immediate release
AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS
Groundswell of Support for Naugatuck River Greenway
Contact: John Monroe National Park Service – Rivers & Trails Program 15 State Street, Boston MA 02109 978 270 1919 John_Monroe@nps.gov “I am delighted with the outpouring of support by volunteers, elected officials, local companies and community groups like the Waterbury Y,” says John Monroe, an Outdoor Recreation Planner and organizer of Explore the Naugatuck, a 56-mile event to be held on Sunday September 23, 2012. “Each day I learn about new contributions and announcements that will be part of the 12 press events from Torrington to Derby. The event will be a celebration of the greenway we have and what is possible,” added Monroe. Who & What & Where On September 23, 2012, the National Park Service will spotlight the accomplishments and potential of the Naugatuck River Greenway by hosting a 56-mile bicycling event. We are calling it Explore the Naugatuck! The Naugatuck River Greenway is one of 101 projects selected nationwide by the Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. See next page for background. Explore the Naugatuck! will include more than 40 elite cyclists (all members of the Waterbury Y Triathlon Team) who will ride at a measured pace from Torrington to Derby, the length of the Naugatuck River. Press Events In every town and city, the riders will stop for a press event featuring a recent or potential greenway element, such as a greenway trail, river restoration project, boat launch, fishing access or riverfront park. Watertown officials will have an announcement about progress on the Steele Brook Greenway, a tributary to the Naugatuck and part of the overall greenway effort.
In Naugatuck, the event will showcase improvements currently under construction to create a greenway trail segment and a scenic overlook. US Representative Rosa DeLauro is scheduled to speak. In Beacon Falls, officials will cut ribbon on the recently completed Riverwalk. Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty will join the riders from Beacon Falls to Seymour where he will provide an update on the Tingue Dam Fish Bypass project. Other state and federal elected officials are expected to appear at many of the press events. Remarkable Partnerships To orchestrate such a long and complex event takes the cooperation and generosity of many partners. Class Cycles of Southbury is generously providing a support vehicle with a mechanic for the entire day. Special thanks go to Gina Mariano-Bunch of Daley Moving & Storage of Torrington for providing a truck and movers to shuttle the bicycles from Derby to Torrington. Other private partners include Chatfield Portables of Southbury, Kelley Transit of Torrington, Joseph Merritt Printing of Waterbury, Sir Speedy Printing of Thomaston, Connecticut DOT and local police departments are assisting with logistics. Waterbury On Wheels At 11:50, Explore the Naugatuck riders will arrive in Waterbury and take two laps around the Green, then participate in Waterbury on Wheels, a family event organized by the Waterbury YMCA and partners. The area around the Green will be closed to traffic so all children and families can enjoy safe bicycling. People are encouraged to bring their own bikes. Other activities will include: presentation of 100 free bikes to Bicycle Boost Program winners; bike safety and maintenance programs; relay races and scavenger hunt; art exhibit of bicycle part sculptures; vendors and remarks by dignitaries. “Part of the goal of Waterbury on Wheels is to get kids to move more outside and promote bike safety, said Jim O’Rourke, Executive Director of the Waterbury Y. Why Right now, relatively few people appreciate the beauty, wildlife and vitality of the Naugatuck River. Even though the river runs through eleven towns and cities, it’s not always easy to see.
The outdated reputation of the river as a smelly, multi-color open sewer prevents many people from acknowledging more than two decades of improvement. The event will be documented through photos and videos in partnership with the Naugatuck Valley Community College digital arts program. While ultimately we hope to bring the people to the river for first-hand experiences, following September 23rd we will bring the river to the people through digital productions. We believe that once people (especially families and young people) know about the river, and more access is created to walk and enjoy the riverfront, that they will flock to use it. Itinerary Explore the Naugatuck! will begin at the crack of dawn on September 23, 2012 as elite riders are shuttled by bus and truck from Derby to Torrington for an 8:00am departure from the field across from the Drakeville Fire Station. Riding at a carefully timed pace, the riders will arrive for the first press event at the bridge over the Naugatuck in downtown Torrington. Each press event will last approximately 20 minutes. Local elected officials and greenway advocates will greet the riders and showcase a recent or pending greenway accomplishment. John Monroe of the National Park Service will present each municipality with a mounted greenway graphic, showing current opportunities and planned improvements. The lunch stop will be on the Green in Waterbury. The downtown will be cordoned off from vehicles for Waterbury on Wheels, an event organized by the Waterbury YMCA. The event will conclude by 5:00pm at the O’Sullivan’s Island in Derby. Arrive 6:00 7:30 8:20 8:55 9:50 10:20 11:05 11:50 1:20 2:20 3:10 3:55 4:25 Location Derby: Parking Lot (Hallock Court & Factory Street) Torrington: Drakeville Torrington: Coe Park Litchfield/Harwinton: Park & Ride Lot Thomaston Dam (US Army Corps of Engineers) Thomaston: Town Hall Watertown: Frost Bridge Road Waterbury: The Green (lunch) Naugatuck: Linden Park Beacon Falls: Riverwalk Seymour: Broad Street Park Ansonia: River Walk Park Derby: Greenway Depart 6:30 by bus 8:00 8:40 9:15 10:10 10:40 11:25 12:50 1:40 2:50 3:30 4:15 4:45 Net Mileage Cumulative Mileage 0.0 4.6 2.7 8.2 1.8 5.4 5.1 6.2 10.0 4.5 6.1 1.5
4.6 7.3 15.5 17.4 22.7 27.8 34.0 44.0 48.5 54.6 56.1
America’s Great Outdoors Background
President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative on April 16, 2010, to foster a 21st-century approach to conservation that is designed by and accomplished in partnership with the American people. He charged the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality with leading this initiative. The President directed senior Administration officials to undertake an unprecedented listening tour to learn from communities outside of the Nation’s Capital that have developed innovative and successful conservation initiatives. The result was perhaps the most robust public conversation about conservation in American history: 51 public listening sessions with more than 10,000 participants and more than 105,000 comments submitted. Building on this conversation, on February 16, 2011, federal agencies submitted to the President “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations,” a report which defines an action plan for conservation and recreation in the 21st century. The AGO report identified 10 major goals and 75 action items to advance this initiative, from expanding youth programs to increasing public awareness about conservation to better managing our public lands. Among these were three major place-based goals to focus the collective conservation and recreation efforts of the federal government: create and enhance urban parks and green spaces, renew and restore rivers, and conserve large, rural landscapes. During the spring and summer of 2011, Secretary Salazar continued the conversation with Americans outside Washington, this time seeking recommendations in each state about opportunities that support the three place-based goals of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Secretary Salazar and his leadership team at the Department of the Interior asked Governors and their senior leadership and stakeholders in all 50 states to identify specific projects in which the federal government could partner with states to advance the AGO goals. The Naugatuck River Greenway is one of two Connecticut AGO projects. The other is the Connecticut River Blueway, a four-state effort managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. #30#