Paddle Schedule for July 2024


Our “Paddle With A Purpose” schedule for July is set. We need volunteer paddlers to help us remove the remaining patches before low water level makes it impossible. A limited number of loaner kayaks are available (for Saturday morning paddles only; see below). Paddles in the “Floating Meadows” in Middletown will launch from the boat launch at 181 Johnson Street.  Paddles in Pecausett Pond in Portland launch from Portland Boat Works at 1 Grove Street.

The July paddle dates are as follows:

Sat. July 13 @ 9 a.m. — Mega-pull in Floating Meadows, followed by free Pizza at nearby Forest City Brewing, provided by the Connecticut River Conservancy

Tues. July 23 @ 5 p.m. — Pecausett Pond in Portland or Floating Meadows in Middletown (TBD)

Sat. July 27 @ 9 a.m. — Floating Meadows in Middletown

Please use the Paddle Registration Form to register for any of the dates listed. By registering, you will receive last-minute news on changes of plans due to weather or other factors.

To borrow a kayak, paddlers must also register with the CT River Conservancy (which owns the loaner kayaks) well in advance of the paddle date . Here is their registration link.  Under the map showing Middletown on the left side, click Join.  Then, for the date you indicated, you will see 2 volunteer paddler options.  The top one is for those who need to borrow a kayak..  Click Join for that date on the right side.  Then you will have to “sign in” by setting up a CRC account, or using a Google account.



20th Anniversary Forest & Garden Party

The Jonah Center Board invites you to help celebrate our 20th Anniversary at our Forest and Garden Party on Saturday, June 22 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at the South Middletown home of Jon Morris and Pam Frost.

Over the past 14 years, they have transformed their thirty-acre property into a beautiful and inspiring model of sustainable living, with highly productive vegetable gardens, fruit trees, a woodlot that they harvest selectively and keep free of invasive plants, a solar-heated swimming pool, perennial borders, solar panels, and decorative use of stone and wood. Continue reading

Central CT Loop Trail Public Workshop — Monday, June 10

We urge the public to attend a special workshop on the route study for the Central CT Loop Trail segment from Portland to Cheshire, conducted by engineering firm VHB. The event will be held in the Council Chambers of Middletown’s City Hall on Monday, June 10, 6:30  – 8:00 p.m., beginning with a formal presentation and followed by questions and comments from the public. Continue reading

Vernal Pool & Wood Frog Video by Phil LeMontagne

Deep in the forest, hidden in the confines of a thick Laurel grove near the Bear Hill Loop Trail in the Maromas section of Middletown, a silent vernal pool waits for the oncoming spring.  Sometimes spring comes late, sometimes early. This year it was especially early. When the weather is right, after a warm rainy 50 degree night, Wood Frogs will leave their shelters to congregate at vernal pools where they raucously compete for mates.  Wood Frogs are “vernal pool obligates”, which means that a vernal pool is the only place where they can reproduce.  The following video gives a peek into a short, but very busy period of time in the life cycle of a Wood Frog.

(Click on the image below to play.)

The Solar Eclipse on April 8

This image shows the path of the eclipse over northern New England.

The moon’s shadow will pass over northern Vermont at a speed of 2600 mph. The total eclipse in Burlington will last approximately 3 minutes and 15 seconds, starting at 3:26 p.m.  That doesn’t sound like much time, but those who have witnessed previous total eclipse say it is not to be missed.

The Vermont State Park website lists a number of parks that will be open for eclipse viewing. Driving time from Middletown to northern Vermont is approximately 4 hours, but make allowances for possibly heavy traffic.  A detailed map showing the path of the eclipse can be viewed here.

Near darkness will come quickly, accompanied by changes in the sounds made by birds and crickets (if one is in an otherwise quiet place) and the dramatic light effects of the corona. Viewers need to wear ISO 12312-2 rated sunglasses (which can be purchased online) until the eclipse is total.

Public Workshops on Route 9 Traffic Signal Removal

By John Hall

The article below was posted before the Feb. 21 & 22 workshop sessions.  Since then, we have learned that there will be a follow-up workshop and presentation at Wesleyan University on April 30.  The exact time and campus location of that event have not been announced, but we will add those details to this post when they become available.  Continue reading

Traffic Cameras Survey

traffic camera

Please let us know your thoughts about the use of “automated traffic enforcement safety devices” (i.e. cameras) to reduce deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians and bicyclists. (Read the article “How To Reduce Speeding” posted earlier on our website.)  If you support such use, please add your name, street address, and town to a petition to the governing body of your town of residence (especially Middletown and Portland) requesting the adoption of a local ordinance that would permit the use of these devices in limited, prescribed locations.

Continue reading

Herbicide Treatment of Water Chestnut

The proliferation of invasive plants such as water chestnut and hydrilla in the Connecticut River, its tributaries, and local ponds has led to more common use of EPA-approved herbicides by government agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Paddlers work on a thick mat of water chestnut plants. If we can pull out the plants, the challenge becomes how to carry them, and then where to dispose of them.

The Jonah Center has asked these agencies, and others, for advice on how best to manage the water chestnut infestation in the Mattabesset River (Floating Meadows). The message we have heard is consistent. Hand-pulling is best where it is feasible. But there are some shallow areas with dense, stubborn infestations where hand-pulling by paddlers is not effective. Such areas represent a small percentage of the total surface area, but the seeds from these remote patches keep germinating in deeper areas, producing more patches that hand-pullers face each year. Every year, the seed bank in these coves and creeks grows. Continue reading

$3 Million Awarded to Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Trail Connector Route

The Jonah Center’s most far-reaching project — to connect the 2 longest multi-use trails in Connecticut — has been awarded 3 grants: a $315,000 route study grant by CT DOT in February 2022; a $500,000 grant by the state bond commission in April 2022; and a $2 million grant by the bond commission in October 2023. We thank Senator Matt Lesser whose leadership and advocacy has enabled this progress and funding. (Please note that none of these funds pass through or benefit the Jonah Center.) These grants will allow the project to proceed from route study (which is now underway) to design and construction work. The most recent $2 million grant is intended to be used as state & local matching funds for $8 million in federal transportation funds to be applied for in the future. In short, we are well on our way to making the connector route a reality. Continue reading