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Farmington Canal Lock 12, Cheshire, CT The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is an 80-mile multi-use rail trail located in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It follows the abandoned north-south right-of-way of the former New Haven and Northampton Company. This railroad was built along the route of the Farmington Canal in Connecticut and the Hampshire and Hampden Canal in Massachusetts. The sections from New Haven to Tariffville are part of the East Coast Greenway, a partially completed trail intended to link Maine with Florida. Contents 1 Trail history 2 Trail status 2.1 Southern section 2.2 Northern section 3 See also 4 External links 5 References Trail history The railway fell into disrepair as freight traffic shifted to trucks by the late 1980s. The Connecticut Department of Transportation purchased most of the abandoned railway corridors via a process called railbanking. In 1991 the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) was passed in Washington and provided States with the ability to use federal funds to finance the conversion of these corridors into what are now known as multi-use rail trails. The trail runs from downtown New Haven, Connecticut to Northampton, Massachusetts, closely following the path of the original Canal and the subsequent railroad as well as the modern Route 10.[1] In the sections where it has been completed, it provides thousands of people per day with bicycling, hiking, inline skating and jogging opportunities. Pieces of the original canal still exist, such as an historic "lock house" dating from the time of the original canal, as well as retaining walls, canal locks (elevators for boats), old sections of canal, and other features. In Cheshire, Connecticut, the only restored lock along the original Canal line has been incorporated into the Lock 12 Historical Park, which also comprises a small museum. Trail status Avoid the aggressive swans. The entire route of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is not yet completed (72% in Connecticut, 47% in Massachusetts) but it is a major priority for most towns along its route. The trail is divided into two sections: A southern section from New Haven to Plainville, and a northern section from Farmington to Suffield. Southern section As of October 2009, two sections of the trail are paved and open to traffic. With the completion of a 0.5-mile (0.8 km) section in New Haven,[2] there is a continuous 14-mile (23 km) section from Prospect Place in New Haven (41°18′49″N 72°55′30″W / 41.3137°N 72.9251°W / 41.3137; -72.9251) through the length of Hamden to Cornwall Avenue in Cheshire (41°29′55″N 72°54′52″W / 41.4985°N 72.9144°W / 41.4985; -72.9144). In August 2006, Yale University announced it would contribute towards the completion of the final two blocks of the trail through downtown New Haven, from Hillhouse Avenue to the Audubon Arts District. The southern 2-mile section in the town of Southington was completed in 2010. The last major gap in the trail contains the northern section of Southington, the whole town of Plainville, which has an approved a feasibility study calling for a proposed route of approximately 4.4 miles in length including both off-road and on-road facilities.[3][4] To the north of Plainville the last 2.2 miles of Farmington need to be completed. This 9-mile gap is the largest remaining in Connecticut. In December 2010 the Town of Cheshire indicated it will begin plan and design on the construction of a new section from West Main Street (Connecticut Route 70) to Jarvis Street and has assembled more than $812,000 in federal and state funding. It is anticipated that Cheshire will add one million dollars to the grants to complete this new section.[5] On December 14, 2010 a Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) grant for $250,000 was accepted and added to existing federal grants of $562,000. There are a number of reasons for the Town of Cheshire to favor building the new unconnected section rather than extending the current trail north from Cornwall Avenue : the difficult issues involving in acquiring rights of way as well as building a path through the wetlands from Cornwall Avenue to West Main Street, the current traffic safety issue for bicycle and pedestrian traffic crossing West Main Street and the offer by the state of Connecticut to help pay for the design of the connecting section from Jarvis Street to the Town of Southington's section of trail.[5] Northern section The northern section includes about 25 miles (40 km) of paved multi-use trail. All of this section is paved and well marked, including East Coast Greenway blazes for the applicable segment up to Route 315 in Simsbury. Almost all of it is off road, although there are numerous road crossings, and some sections run alongside roads similar to a sidewalk. As of July 2009, the bridge which carries the trail over Salmon Brook in Granby is completed. As of October 2009 the .37-mile gap in Suffield has been paved to the Massachusetts line, so that the trail is now continuous from Farmington (41°43′41″N 72°51′43″W / 41.7280°N 72.8620°W / 41.7280; -72.8620) through Southwick, MA - a distance of 27 miles. Both Simsbury and Avon will complete short pieces of on-road trail in their town centers in 2010. Intersections with the Farmington River Trail are (1) near the start of the trail, on Red Oak Hill Rd/New Britain Ave. in Farmington, and (2) at the intersection of Rt. 10 and Drake Hill Rd. in Simsbury. Southwick, MA has finished Phase II to the Westfield, MA line (42°06′21″N 72°44′38″W / 42.1058°N 72.7438°W / 42.1058; -72.7438). Westfield's section of about 3.2 miles has been approved by MassHighway, to include 9 bridges making it (once completed) one of the very few elevated trails in America. Southampton is working on the purchase of the railroad right of way. Easthampton's Manhan Trail is now 3.7 miles long and will become part of the larger FCHT. Northampton continues to build the Norwottuck/Manhan connection, with a major bridge completed in 2010 across Route 5 and Route 10. See also Farmington Canal Hampshire and Hampden Canal New Haven and Northampton Company External links Farmington Canal Rail to Trail Association/Farmington Canal Trail (Southern section - New Haven to Plainville) Farmington Valley Trails Council/Farmington Valley Greenway (Northern Section - Farmington to Suffield) "Enjoying the Farmington Canal Greenway". New Haven Register. 08/03/2008. http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2008/08/03/life/19885058.txt. Retrieved 2008-10-05.  The East Coast Greenway on Google Maps: Connecticut (Includes the entire Southern section, and about 2/3 of the Northern Section) References ^ Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and Farmington River Trail Guide, FVTC, Tariffville, CT: 2009 ^ http://www.designnewhaven.org/2008/07/farmington-canal-greenway-gets-rolling.html ^ http://www.bristolpress.com/articles/2009/07/16/news/doc4a5fe2b1daa14735570099.txt ^ http://www.courant.com/community/suffield/hc-plainville-bike-1014.artoct13,0,2613652.story ^ a b Cheshire Herald, December 22, 2010, article "Linear Trail Will Take A Different Route", author Josh Morgan, retrieved December 27, 2010 v · d · eHiking Trails in Connecticut Airline State Park Trail  • Alain and May White Trails  • American Legion  • Appalachian Trail  • Aspetuck Valley  • Bigelow Hollow  • Case Mountain  • Charter Oak Greenway  • Chatfield  • Cockaponset  • East Coast Greenway  • Falls Brook  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail  • Gay City  • Hancock Brook  • Hop River State Park Trail  • Housatonic Range  • Jericho  • Kettletown  • Lillinonah  • Lone Pine  • Macedonia Brook  • Mattabesett  • Mattatuck  • McLean Game Refuge  • Menunkatuck  • Metacomet  • Mohawk  • Moosup Valley State Park Trail  • Muir  • Narragansett  • Natchaug  • Naugatuck  • Nayantaquit  • Nehantic  • New England National Scenic Trail  • Nipmuck  • Old Furnace  • Patchaug  • Paugussett  • Peoples  • Pequot  • Pine Knob  • Pomperaug  • Quinebaug  • Quinnipiac  • Ragged Mountain  • Regicides  • Salmon River  • Saugatuck  • Shenipsit  • Sleeping Giant  • Sleeping Giant State Park  • Stony Creek Quarry  • Sunny Valley Preserve  • Tunxis  • Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route  • Westwoods  • Whitestone Cliffs  • Wolcott Trail  • Zoar v · d · eMulti-Use Trail Systems in Connecticut National Historic Trails Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route  • Long Distance or Regional Multi-Use Trails in Connecticut Airline State Park Trail  • Charter Oak Greenway  • East Coast Greenway  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail  • Farmington River Trail  • Hop River State Park Trail  • Larkin State Park Trail  • Moosup Valley State Park Trail  • Connecticut Municipal Multi-Use Trails Bethany  • Branford  • East Haven  • Farmington  • Guilford  • Hamden  • Madison  • Manchester  • Meriden  • Milford  • New Haven  • North Branford  • North Haven  • Orange  • Shelton  • Wallingford  • West Haven  • Woodbridge  • v · d · eProtected areas of Connecticut National Park Service Weir Farm National Historic Site National Wildlife Refuges Silvio O. Conte • Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge National Trails Appalachian Trail State Parks Airline • Beckley Iron Furnace Industrial Monument • Bigelow Hollow • Black Rock • Bluff Point • Burr Pond • Camp Columbia • Campbell Falls • Chatfield Hollow • Collis P. Huntington • Connecticut Valley Railroad • Day Pond • Dennis Hill • Devil's Hopyard • Dinosaur • Fort Griswold Battlefield • Fort Trumbull • Gardner Lake • Gay City • George W. Seymour • Gillette Castle • Haddam Meadows • Haley Farm • Hammonasset Beach • Hampton Beach • Harkness Memorial • Haystack Mountain • Hop River State Park Trail • Hopeville Pond • Housatonic Meadows • Hurd • Indian Well • John A. Minetto • Kent Falls • Kettletown • Lake Waramaug • Larkin State Park Trail • Levy • Lovers Leap • Macedonia Brook • Mansfield Hollow • Mashamoquet Brook • Millers Pond • Mohawk Mountain • Moosup Valley State Park Trail • Mount Tom • Old Furnace • Osbornedale • Penwood • Putnam Memorial • Quaddick • Quinnipiac River • River Highlands • Rocky Neck • Selden Neck • Seth Low Pierrepont • Sherwood Island • Silver Sands • Sleeping Giant • Southford Falls • Squantz Pond • Stratton Brook • Talcott Mountain • Wadsworth Falls • West Rock Ridge • Wharton Brook • Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail State Forests Algonquin • American Legion • Centennial Watershed • Cockaponset • Enders • James L. Goodwin • Housatonic • Massacoe • Mattatuck • Meshomasic • Mohawk • Mohegan • Nassahegon • Natchaug • Nathan Hale • Nehantic • Nepaug • Nipmuck • Nye-Holman • Pachaug • Paugnut • People's • Pootatuck • Quaddick • Salmon River • Shenipsit • Topsmead • Tunxis • Wyantenock Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (web)