Canoe and Kayak Paddle — July 2 at noon

2011 June paddle bannerThe Jonah Center invites kayakers and canoeists to a group paddle in Middletown’s Floating Meadows – a 1000 acre freshwater tidal marshland — on Saturday, July 2, from 12 noon until 2:30 p.m. Paddlers will launch from the City of Middletown’s new Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch at 181 Johnson Street, travel down the Coginchaug River for a short distance to the Mattabesset River, and from there paddle on the Mattabesset River upstream toward Cromwell. Water level in these rivers is currently low, but the trip is timed to coincide with high tide. Continue reading

Public Input Sought For Wilcox Preserve

Wilcox PropertyThe Wilcox Conservation Area is a 126-acre forested, City open-space property located off Atkins Street and Footit Drive. The City is in the process of developing a management plan for the area and is looking to engage residents on their use (or lack thereof), concerns, and thoughts about the property.

On Wednesday June 15 at 6:30 pm, the City’s Department of Planning, Conservation and Development in conjunction with the Conservation Commission and the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association (CFPA) will hold a public forum at CFPA, located at 16 Meriden Road (Route 66) in Rockfall, to discuss the conditions and future vision for the Wilcox Conservation Property.

Residents are strongly encouraged to attend to share their views on the property and to provide input on future management activities. Citizen hopes and concerns will shape and support forest and trail management efforts at the property.

See A Turtle? Take A Photo and Become A Citizen Scientist

CT Turtle AtlasAll you need is a digital camera and an internet connection to take part in an exciting turtle-tracking project. The Bruce Museum in Greenwich is looking for Citizen Scientists to record observations wherever they occur in Connecticut  The project is called the Connecticut Turtle Atlas. There is an iNaturalist smart phone app that makes it even easier. To learn why this is so important and how to get started, see below. Continue reading

BEAUTIFYING HARBOR PARK

City residents are invited to attend a planning session on Harbor Park with the Middletown Garden Club, the City of Middletown Planning Department, and the Conway School of Landscape Design. Two sessions will be held:

Thursday, May 5, at 6:30 pm at the Senior/Community Center, 63 Durant Terrace, and

Thursday, June 9, at 6:30 pm in the Hubbard Room of Russell Library, 123 Broad Street.

A team of graduate students from the Conway School have taken on the project of interpreting the community’s vision of an improved Harbor Park; the project is under-written through the Susan B. Wasch Riverfront Development Fund, which is managed by the Middletown Garden Club. The goal is to increase usage of the park and expand opportunities to enjoy the waterfront through active and passive access to natural resources.

The Conway School, located in Conway, MA, offers masters’ degrees in ecological design. Their mission is to explore, develop, practice, and teach design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable. The Middletown Garden Club, a 501(c)(3) organization, has worked to beautify the city of Middletown for over 100 years.

Common Council Adopts Complete Streets Ordinance

Logo-v01-OTOn Monday, March 7, 2016, at its 7 p.m. meeting, Middletown’s Common Council unanimously adopted the Complete Streets Ordinance proposed by the City’s Complete Streets Committee. We wish to thank the many citizens who attended the meeting to show their support. The ordinance requires the City to consider the needs of all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, users of wheelchairs, and public transit riders when planning transportation improvement projects. The text of the draft ordinance can be viewed here.

In practice, passage of the ordinance means that the Complete Streets Committee will have an official role in planning these improvements, insuring that our streets and roadways are modified (wherever possible and where costs are justified by the likelihood of significant community benefits) to make them safer, more usable, and more attractive for all residents, not just those driving cars and trucks.

Bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly improvements are expected to be made when roadways and sidewalks are scheduled for work as part of road bond projects, with priority given to areas around schools and commercial districts.  The Complete Streets Committee is already working with Middletown’s Public Schools to encourage more students to  walk or bike to school. The construction of multi-use trails to connect various parts of the city for non-motorized transportation and recreation is another goal of the Complete Streets Committee and the Jonah Center.  For more information on these plans, click here.

2016 Edition of the Middletown Trail Guide

Trail Guide For Sale FlierMayor Daniel T. Drew is excited to announce the release of the 2nd Edition of the Middletown Trail Guide. The Trail Guide, which was last updated in 2004, is the result of the diligent work and perseverance of the members of the City’s Conservation Commission and community volunteers along with assistance from City staff. The updated trail guide includes maps and narrative descriptions for over 20 areas for hiking, biking, nature viewing and kayaking. Some new additions to the trail guide include the nearly 5-mile long multi-use trail, a 1.6-mile downtown walking loop, and the Mattabesset River Canoe/Kayak Trail which utilizes the City’s new car-top boat launch off Johnson Street. Continue reading

Help Us Protect Snapping Turtles

Snapping turtle emailIn response to our campaign for better protection for snapping turtles, DEEP has proposed amending the current regulations concerning bag limits. The new draft regulation reduces the season limit (also the daily limit) from 30 to 10 adult snapping turtles. You can view the “Notice of Intent” on the DEEP website here.

While greater restrictions are certainly welcome, this limit is still virtually unenforceable. Without data on snapping turtle population, we have to assume that they, like all other turtles, are threatened by habitat loss. Snapping turtles are the only wildlife species further threatened by “commercial taking.” (Note: Prior to our action in 2014, there were no limits on commercial trapping of snapping turtles.) Your voice will help us further reduce the commercial “taking” of these ancient creatures. Continue reading