Maritime heritage trail coming to region

The University of Connecticut has announced a new $40,000 project funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior to create a maritime heritage trail in southeastern Connecticut.

The so-called Blue Heritage Trail will be focused on the Thames River Heritage Park that connects several historic sites in and near the waterway. The heritage park currently lists 18 local sites, including the Custom House Maritime Museum, Nathan Hale Schoolhouse and Fort Trumbull in New London, as well as the Avery-Copp House, U.S. Submarine Force Museum & Library and Fort Griswold in Groton. 

“This funded project came out of a critical seed grant from the UConn Office of Public Engagement more than a year ago,” said Nathaniel Trumbull, UConn associate professor of geography. “Without that seed grant, we would not have had the matching funding to apply for this larger National Park Service grant.”

Other UConn academics involved in the project are associate professor of agricultural and resource economics Syma Ebbin, associate professor of history Helen Rozwadowski and associate professor of English Mary K. Bercaw Edwards.

Along the trail, visitors will be led through sites of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and both World Wars. Installed informational panels will give the public information about historic events, as well as geographical details related to Connecticut’s economy, such as the state’s long history of fishing and manufacturing industries, including shipyards.

The ecosystems of fish and shellfish will be part of the picture painted along the trail, with an emphasis on creating a sustainable future for aquaculture. The IZI Travel app or QR code scanning will be required to learn more about the sites.

“Developing this Connecticut Blue Trail has been a great opportunity to engage with other maritime partners and learn how we can best serve this community,” Ebbin said. “Our partnership with the Thames River Heritage Park has been especially critical in allowing us to implement our ideas in concert with existing regional efforts.”

l.howard@theday.com

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