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All-access trail developed at Claire Murphy River Walk

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KENT – Anyone in a wheelchair who wants to get up close to the Housatonic River will soon be able to in Kent, once the Kent Land Trust completes an all-access trail at the Claire Murphy River Walk Preserve.

A new all-access trail is being installed by Kent Land Trust at the Claire Murphy River Walk next to the KLT office and Marble Valley Farm. The plan is to have it open this spring. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

The land trust has been working for months to get the approvals necessary to construct the trail that is next to the KLT office and Marble Valley Farm. Claire Murphy was one of the original founders of the Kent Land Trust and the trail is named in her honor.

Connie Manes, executive director of the land trust, said recently the organization hopes to have the trail open this spring.  The work is partially funded by a state grant that was awarded to Kent and Warren and funds more than one project, she said.

“Eventually, there will be a viewing platform installed,” she said. “Someone will be able to roll up to the river and fish off the platform.”

The trail improvements have two components. A finely crushed gravel surface that is porous but hard like pavement is being installed on the trail. In addition, the parking area will be resurfaced with that material, as well as the landing area for the trail.

“Somebody will be able to get to the kiosk and use the accessible picnic tables that Kent School students built on one of their community service days,” Manes said. The picnic tables may not visually appear that different, but the side of each is extended so someone who was already seated could put their chair under the tabletop. They don’t have the barriers that exist on a traditional picnic table.

One of the views of the Housatonic River from the new all-access trail. There will eventually be a viewing platform that will be accessible to wheelchairs. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

The trail itself is short and is covered with a finely crushed stone that is a type of power, she explained.

A viewing platform will be constructed at the river’s edge. The land trust has contracted with the same company that built the viewing platform on Eel Pond Preserve on the north side of Route 341 in Warren.

“It could be used for fishing and I do hope people fish off of it,” Manes said.

The trail extends in both directions but the current plan is for the all-access portion to go just to the viewing platform.

“It is a very easy way to get to the river, which is what we’re lacking in Kent—public access to the river,” she said. “When you build an all-access trail, you’re not building it for a specific person. There is nobody who doesn’t like an all-access trail. That is the joy and awesomeness of it that everyone can and will use it.”

The Claire Murphy River Walk is described on KLT’s website as “an enjoyable, simple way to appreciate the natural world around us. The entire trial is a gentle, ¼-mile walking path leading from near the parking area for Marble Valley Farm to the Housatonic River.”

There are many different birds, including blue herons and bald eagles, sighted in the nearby wetland, as well as frogs, turtles and ducks that are regularly seen as well. 

Lynn Worthington
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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Stephanie Raftery

    March 1, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    This is great news! I can’t wait to see it 🙂

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