To the Editor:

Shelton, like most towns, has many recreational facilities, some private, some public, some indoor and some outdoor. And like most towns, the Covid-19 virus forced the shutdown of many of these venues. Shelton is however not like most towns in other ways which have served its citizens well for many years.

We have a forward thinking city administration that has for many years recognized and promoted the purchase of open space and the creation of a series of trails that run throughout the city which are accessible to everyone. Even under the restrictions of Covid-19, Mayor Lauretti did not close the trails. He recognized their intrinsic value and how they could be a an outlet for many who were forced by the Covid-19 to be at home. The very tempered weather of the winter allowed for the trails to be usable most of the winter and they assumed a place in the hearts and minds of many who were looking to get out but not be crowded out.

A friend and I took a two-hour stroll on the Shelton trails, which flew by, to enjoy about three miles of the trails that meander around the lakes area of Shelton adjacent to Rt. 108 and passing by the Shelton Dog Park. The fully leafed trees provide a canopy to hold back the sun even in the middle of the day, making it a cooler and more comfortable plan of exercise then running or walking on the pavement of city streets. And even on rainy days the canopy provides enough shelter for walking.

The main trails are 6- to 8-feet wide and handicapped accessible, They are well marked with areas along the way to sit, relax and take in the view of some of natures most beautiful sights. There are smaller trails blazed by those who want to get closer to the lakes, kayak, fish and to just be more adventurous. Bikers, on Spider-man and frozen peddlers to 21-gear models were present. Some athletes were running but most were strolling and enjoying the great June weather we are experiencing. Even on a rainy day the paths can be utilized. There is room for everyone and being out on the trail just makes you smile and appreciate so many things we had taken for granted until recently. Dogs on leashes are permitted as long as you clean up after them.

We have survived being quarantined with our nuclear families in the tight quarters of our homes through the winter. Family travel plans may be delayed or even canceled to avoid air plane rides, long hours cooped up in a car or because the persons we want to visit are those older family members we are trying to protect.

May I suggest a family outing on the Shelton’s trails. Our Conservation Department under the eagle eye of Terry Gallagher has been a catalyst in recruiting volunteers, donations and grants to provide us with and excellent recreational venue. You would be foolish not to take the time to enjoy it. There are multiple places to safely park your car and enter the trails, fantastic vistas and flora to view while you exercise without even knowing it. Printable maps are available on cityofshelton.org so you can plot your walking tours in advance.

And as a bonus last Thursday I was able to meet two of the persons who are maintaining the colorful flower garden at the entrance to the Shelton Dog Park. Nim and Jan were carefully grooming and watering the flowers for all to enjoy. I want to thank them for their volunteerism and our city hall Conservation staff for the yeoman job they have done to design build and maintain the trails. If you want to volunteer with the Conservation Department call the city hall at 203-924-1555.

Please stay safe and be well.

Anthony F. Simonetti

Alderman, 1st Ward