Manchester Land Conservation Trust

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All are welcome to Land Trust events — fun, informative, and congenial hikes and walks on our conservation lands in the Greater Manchester area and an annual dinner meeting.

• Cheney Railroad History Walk    Saturday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m.
SMRRDepotNrCheneyHall.c1900WEB.jpgNOTE LOCATION for beginning of this walk: Meet at the office steps, Fuss & O'Neill, 146 Hartford Road, Manchester. Hikers will trace the route of the former railroad, built in 1869 to connect the Cheney silk mills to the main rail line in the North End. At 2.5 miles, it was the shortest private freight-and-passenger railroad in the United States. We will start our hike in the South End, heading north toward Center Springs Park, where we will see the large footbridge over Bigelow Brook. Some of hike will be along roads overlooking the old railbed, and after we cross Center Street, the terrain may be a bit difficult and hilly. Depending on the weather, the hike may continue to Middle Turnpike or beyond, so could be up to 5 miles round trip. Extreme weather cancels. No dogs, please. FREE. 1900 photo at right shows the depot of the South Manchester Railroad, located at that time just to the east of Cheney Hall. The depot was moved farther north in 1910, and is no longer in existence.
Click here to see information about the history of the Cheney Railroad on the Manchester Historical Society's website. To enjoy the trail on your own, print a copy of this railroad map.

• Cheney Railroad History Walk    Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m.
Hikers will have an easy, fairly flat, walk along the former railroad, built in 1869 to connect the Cheney silk mills to the main rail line in the North End. At 2.5 miles, it was the shortest freight-and-passenger railroad in the United States. We will hike at a moderate pace along the one-mile portion owned by the Manchester Land Conservation Trust and, depending on the weather, on to the bridge overlooking Center Springs Park, which will take about 2 hours round trip. Participants will hear about the history of the railroad and see maps and old pictures. Meet at the North End of Main Street in Manchester, on the north (right) side of Farr’s Sporting Goods, 2 Main Street, Manchester, CT 06042. Park at the nearby shopping plaza or Eighth Utilities District office building (please do not park in Farr's parking lot). A special favor will be given to children who attend the hike, co-sponsored by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association's Hike CT program, and open to all. We will hike if light rain -- bring an umbrella -- but extreme weather cancels. No dogs, please. FREE.
Click here to see information about the history of the Cheney Railroad on the Manchester Historical Society's website. To enjoy the trail on your own, print a copy of this railroad map.

• Earth Day: Highland Park history hike and climb   Sunday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m.
CaseMtnHike7.31.2010.3554.jpg Meet at the Land Trust boulder at the small parking lot on Spring Street near the bridge and waterfall, not far from the intersection of Spring Street and Glen Road, Manchester (GPS 670 Spring St.). The Land Trust owns a few properties in the Case Mountain area, including this one-acre parcel. We'll start with commentary on the Case Brothers National Historic District and then visit the paper mill and mansion areas. Those who want a short walk with history commentary may end their walk at the dam at Case Pond near Spring Street. For those who want a more strenuous event, we will continue uphill to the summit of Case Mountain. Steep, bumpy, and rocky terrain, but worth the effort, especially on a clear day, when the Heublein Tower is visible to the west. FREE. Please wear sturdy sneakers or hiking boots, and bring water. No dogs, please. Extreme weather cancels. Please check the street signs carefully before parking to avoid parking tickets. For vintage pictures and a story about the Highland Park section of Manchester, visit Case Brothers National Historic District.

• Annual meeting and dinner    Thursday, May 24, 2018
5:30 p.m. details to be announced. SAVE THE DATE! An evening of conviviality and good food. After dinner, there will be a brief business meeting with a summary of the previous year's events, financial reports, and election of board members, followed by an illustrated talk by Mark Milewski, Troop 25 scout leader and adventurer, who climbed Mt. Everest in 2016. All welcome, although only members can vote. This is always a highlight of the Land Trust year. Mark commented on his Everest expedition: "Approaching the summit was a pretty profound moment." He stood on top of the 29,035-foot mountain for about 20 minutes with some other climbers. "Everything is below you. I swear I could see the curvature of the earth," he added. "I extend heartfelt gratitude to everyone who followed along on my blog, supported, encouraged, prayed, and sent their good vibes to me on this turbulent but ultimately triumphant journey." Mount Everest is Milewski's fifth of the seven summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. He previously climbed to the summits of Mount Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount McKinley, and Mount Aconcagua. He started his training for high altitude mountaineering with climbing Mount Rainier in 2004. An assistant professor of Business Administration, Milewski joined Tunxis Community College in 2010, where he teaches courses in management, business, ethics, and entrepreneurship. He uses much of what he has learned in climbing mountains in his courses which he relates to business, including teamwork and goal attainment. He is also advisor to the student Business Club and has brought many corporate guest speakers to campus. -- quoted by Tim Jensen, Patch News staff, June 6, 2016.

• Center Springs Park hike    Saturday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m.
CenterSpr.CMB.2013WEB.jpg Meet at the Manchester Park and Recreation Headquarters, 39 Lodge Drive, Manchester 06040, rain or shine -- extreme weather cancels. We'll explore Center Springs Park as part of Connecticut Trails Day. All are invited to this free ramble at the 55-acre urban park in the geographical center of Manchester. Learn some of the history of the park, and view interesting rock formations and a gorge on this approximately one-mile hike. The terrain is a bit difficult and wet in spots, and participants should wear sturdy shoes. Extreme weather cancels. Optional additional walk to the nearby Cheney Railroad, adding a half-mile round trip. History and lore on Manchester Historical Society website at Center Springs Park.Connecticut Trails Day and its hundreds of hikes, biking and canoing expeditions, is sponsored by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Volunteers from across the State lead activities to encourage enjoyment of the outdoors in forests, parks, and along rivers and streams. Read more about Connecticut Forest & Park Assocation at CFPA.

• Risley Park hike    SUNDAY, June 3 at 1:00 p.m.
Risley5.31.14.2818.JPG Connecticut Trails Day hike! This challenging hike starts in the parking lot just east of Risley Pond (GPS 366 Lake Street, Vernon). Risley Park is the Trust’s largest parcel of protected land, which spans 155.3 acres in Vernon and Bolton, and hosts a section of the Shenipsit Trail, part of the Blue Trail system of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. The property includes a former orchard, farmland, pond, and meadow. No dogs, please. Depending on the weather conditions, this will be a strenuous 3.3-mile hike to a ridge with scenic views along the way, with rough and steep terrain, and some wet spots. Depending on the weather, the hike may be shortened to avoid some wet areas, but it will still be strenuous. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes or boots, bring water and a snack, and expect to be on the trail for about two and a half hours. Park in the Lake Street lot, PICTURED in photo at left, across from Amy Drive on the east side of Risley Pond; additional parking is available along Amy Drive. Extreme weather cancels; check this web site if any questions. For Risley (and other Trust property!) pictures on the Land Trust's Pinterest page.

• GIANT Tag Sale    Friday, June 1 to Saturday, June 9Tag Sale from 9:00 to 2:00.
At the former cider barn, 330 Bush Hill Road, Manchester (between Keeney Street and Hillstown Road). Fundraiser to benefit the Land Trust. LOADS OF books, toys, and mountains of holiday items and gifts, dishes, tablecloths, tools, music CDs, artwork, curiosities, furniture, machinery, household and sports items, near-antiques, glassware, and items both useful and decorative. Accepting donations (no clothes, no TVs, no computers, please) Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from May 8 to May 29 (except Memorial Day) from 11 to 2 each day; there is a covered bin to the right of the barn (open door, place items inside) or phone for other drop-off times: Terry at 860-643-1823. You can print a tag sale poster here. The Land Trust bought this 62-acre property with the help of grants from the State of Connecticut, Town of Manchester, Bafflin Foundation and MANY gifts from individuals throughout the area. Now we are raising funds to build a pavillion and restroom facilities for the public. For a flyer with an aerial view of the farm and a summary of its significance in protecting open space, see Farm at Bush Hill Road.

• Farm walk    Saturday, June 9 at 1:00 p.m. (come at 12:30 if you want to shop the last day of the tag sale!)
1945FarmCome for a hike at the Land Trust's 62-acre farm on Bush Hill Rd., Manchester, and Bell St., Glastonbury. Meet at the old cider barn, 330 Bush Hill Road, Manchester and join board members of the Land Trust for trek to see the Bush Hill high point, and out to the Glastonbury portion of the property, with its babbling brook. The event is free, and will be held rain or shine, but extreme weather cancels. Moderately paced with hills, bumps, and some wet spots. About two-and-a-half miles. The Botti family farmed this property starting about 1912 – growing apples, peaches, cherries, and blueberries as well as vegetables. With volunteer help, trails are now in place with blazes to guide hikers. No dogs, please. 1945 photo at right shows Louis and Emilio Botti working at the orchard. Click farm flyer for a map of the area, showing its connection to nearby open space.

Join us for free hikes, scheduled throughout the year. All welcome.

Be a part of preserving and maintaining open space lands in the Greater Manchester area.