Composite Vision Plan
Connecticut is fortunate to still have a rich, healthy and varied landscape in many areas of the state. The protected natural resources, recreational opportunities, and cultural and historical assets of the state are a benefit to all residents and visitors alike. However, more work remains to be done to increase the acreage of protected lands, add to the base of recreational opportunities and preserve more of Connecticut's cultural history. This work is essential to improve the quality of life for current and future generations. One such method to achieve these goals are greenways.
Greenways can be a "broad organizing principle in resource protection" (State of Connecticut, Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut 1998-2003, p. 99). It is very encouraging that this quote comes from a state agency. The efforts of so many in Connecticut including; Olmsted, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Department of Environmental Protection, private citizens groups and many more have contributed greatly to advance a greenway/trails and openspace agenda that benefits both man and the environment. The goal of this study is similar; to develop a greenways vision plan that responds to protected natural resources, recreational resources, and cultural and historic resources. The composite vision map of these resources shows the highlights of all of these layers of information including proposals offered by the author and others that are outlined in this chapter. It is hoped that this study, that is a component of a larger study, The New England Greenways Vision Plan, will bring together both information and people in new and different ways so as to advance the worthy development of greenways and greenways connections throughout the state and New England.
The method of this study, to research and map the existing and proposed initiatives relative to significant natural, recreational, cultural and historic resources, is a beneficial way to understand a complex landscape. Building additional proposals based on this process adds depth and clarity to this unique and valuable Vision Plan. The layering of information to create a composite Vision Plan map reveals significant corridors and land parcels that are appropriate for greenways and greenways connections as well as areas requiring additional natural protection efforts. More specifically, Connecticut's river valleys surface as viable corridors rich in cultural and historical resources, providing recreational opportunities while in need of additional means of natural resource protection. Likewise, the existing and proposed greenways and trails network in the state, if realized, would provide significant increases in recreational resources while strengthening connections to cultural and historic resources in the state, and adding significantly to natural resource protection efforts.
It is important to note that this Vision Plan is meant to be a beginning. Much more work has yet to be done to make this Vision Plan an actual plan. I am energized and proud to be a part of this process. It is reassuring that the creative skills, energy, and cooperative nature of the many dedicated greenways professionals and advocates in the state of Connecticut will be guiding the ongoing process of furthering protection and enhancement of the wealth of natural, recreational, and cultural/historic resources in the state in pursuit of realizing a greenways Vision Plan.