Mill River Trail Restores Human and Natural Connections

Volunteers, nonprofit organizations, government and philanthropy collaborate to build greenway trail that bridges neighborhoods.

J.R. Logan has led the advocacy to create a trail along the Mill River. Photo credit: New Haven Independent.

A riverfront walking trail is connecting neighborhoods separated by a highway and train tracks, thanks to an effort spearheaded by local volunteers. The Mill River Trail recently opened the first sections of a paved walking path that, when complete, will stretch from East Rock Park through Fair Haven to Criscuolo Park and New Haven Harbor.

The project is transforming the banks of the Mill River into a beautiful greenway corridor through neighborhoods that have suffered from industrial uses for generations.

“People can directly appreciate the environment and history when they spend some time walking on the trail,” said J.R. Logan, a lead volunteer behind the project. “They’ll begin to ask questions: how was this river used by Native Americans? What’s the history of the English Station? What plants grow here? And I think that’s fantastic.”

Read the recent coverage in The New Haven Independent.

Logan estimates more than 100 volunteers have pitched in make the trail possible. Local, state, and national partners have helped with funding, including federal funding administered by Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and matching funds from the New Haven Innovation Collaborative Project. The City of New Haven has helped to secure easements over several trail sections.

Save the Sound is leading the work to build a visible, accessible entrance to the trail in Fair Haven near the harbor. A recent grant from The Community Foundation to Save the Sound helped secure funds from Partners for Places, a matching grant program led by The Funder’s Network. Four blocks of degraded roadway and vacant land will be converted into a linear trail and green stormwater capture park to reduce flooding and water pollution. The work will both restore habitat and support the health and wellbeing of New Haven residents.

Learn more about Save the Sound.

Did you know?

The Mill River Trail was highlighted by The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities as a project focused on racial equity and climate justice. Read more.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.