National Trails Day hike held at Windsor Locks Canal

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Wed., Jun. 5, 2013
Joan Mascena, 8, with dad Anthony on her first day of fishing. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Joan Mascena, 8, with dad Anthony on her first day of fishing. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Before the walk at the Windsor Locks Canal on June 1, Windsor Locks First Selectman Steve Wawruck read a brief proclamation to honor National Eagle Day, as well as National Trails Day. This walk was a labor of love between three parties: the Windsor Locks Conservation Commission, the Friends of the Windsor Locks Canal, and the Windsor Locks Historical Society.

The canal is used for several activities, such as biking, walking and fishing. Though the canal offers a lot to the town, much work is needed to restore it to its original beauty. The committees are hoping to raise money to help with that process.

The wildlife that lives along the canal includes fish, rabbits and other animals running through the vegetation, ducks, geese, and a vast selection of birds nesting in the trees, one of which is the bald eagle.

Donald Hopkins, the founder of the Bald Eagle Study Group, said that an eagle’s nest may reach up to 7 feet wide. Hopkins gave a brief speech about the birds and set up a display of pictures of eagles that had been observed and tagged over the years. The group tags the eagles and studies how they migrate. Many of the tagged eagles came from Massachusetts, according to Hopkins.

There was also a display of what the canal looked like in past decades and how it has changed. While walking the trail, many walkers stopped to take pictures of the natural beauty all around them.

Bill Taylor, of East Windsor, said that he picks up the trash on the side of the canal regularly to try to maintain the natural beauty of the canal. Every spring there is a large clean-up effort that consists of approximately 40 members who focus not only the canal side, but along the river, as well. “The main trash is stuff that the fishermen leave behind,” Taylor said. They are hoping to inspire people to keep the canal attractive and clean.

Richard Frawley is the chairman for the Conservation Commission. Since the Windsor Locks Canal is officially a state park, he would like to see the State of Connecticut put some money into improving the condition of the parking lot.

Originally there was a charge for this walk, but since the canal is a state park, the committees were not allowed to charge a fee. When the walkers first arrived, they checked in with Christine Ermenc, who is the director of the Windsor Locks Historical Society. Upon signing in, she had let all of the walkers know that there was not an official charge, but all donations would be greatly appreciated.

To donate to the Bald Eagle Study Group, call Donald Hopkins at 860-688-4119. To donate for the improvement of the Windsor Locks Canal, contact the Windsor Locks Historical Society, the Friends of The Windsor Locks Canal or the Conservation Commission.

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