New online map of state blue-blazed trails launched

Getting out on the Connecticut Forest & Park Association's network of blue-blazed hiking trails just became easier, thanks to the recent launch of a new interactive online trails map with parking information and directions to trail heads.

The online map supplements the association's Connecticut Walk Books, which contain detailed maps of the blue-blazed trails but were last published in 2005 and 2006, said Clare Cain, trail stewardship director for the association. The site has more up-to-date information about new additions to the trail system, such as the section of the Shenipsit Trail through Tolland, and a new 12-mile section of trail in Guilford, she said.

While the removable maps in the books are still best to take on a hike, visitors to the site can zoom in and print screen shots of sections of the trails to use as a backup, she said. The site became active on June 27. "Hopefully this makes it easier for people to get out on a trail," she said. "The response has been great so far," she said.

There are 825 miles of blue-blazed trails traversing 88 towns in the state. In southeastern Connecticut, blue-blazed trails include the Pequot, Narragansett, Pachaug, Nayantiquit and Nehantic trails.

Although it will now be free to access information about the trails, Cain noted that creating the site required many hours of staff time and a contract with Web consultants, as well as the help of volunteers. The association is a private, nonprofit conservation group that depends on membership and volunteer support, she added.

The site can be found at www.ctwoodlands.org/
BlueTrailsMap.

j.benson@theday.com

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