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Mianus River Park Gets New Signs

City Of StamfordThe City of Stamford has installed new signs in Mianus River Park which will reinforce the rules for using the park, make clear that the main entrance to the park is and always has been across the bridge, up the hill and through the main gate. The short cut to the right of the bridge will also be closed to allow portion of the river bank to recuperate from the excessive use.

The City of Stamford, the Town of Greenwich, Friends of Mianus River Park, and the Mianus River Watershed Council have developed a signage program for Mianus River Park that will be fully installed on the Stamford side by early December of this year. The City of Stamford will be installing the new signs in the park.

The new signage includes park management information and educational signage highlighting the park's ecology. Additonally the signs make clear that the main entrance to the park is, and has always been, across the bridge, up the hill and through the Main Gate.

Trail ClosedThe “trail” just past the bridge has been closed. It was never a sanctioned trail. It was a “bootleg” trail—an unofficial & unsustainable trail that presents environmental complications from a land management perspective.

It is understandable that park users are attracted by the trail opening on the right (upstream, northwest side) after crossing the Merriebrook Lane Bridge, since it provides immediate park and river access. Regrettably, extensive use has severely compromised the riparian-ecological balance of the west bank, especially along this stretch of the river. Recent extreme weather has further compounded the use-related damage to the riverbank, further exposing tree roots, weakening rock and soil substructures, and worsening negative environmental impacts to the section. It floods now and because it floods the trail gets muddy. To avoid the mud, walkers create an ever wider trail, trampling new growth and increasing the flooding.

The decision to close this section of trail is based on environmental risks and impacts and is intended to sustain the park’s viability as a long-term natural and recreational resource. The compaction of soil and lack of understory vegetation due to high volume use begins a sequence of events that include:

  • erosion of the soil:
  • the death of trees;
  • additional erosion and soil compaction;
  • unstable riverbanks;
  • loss of tree canopy;
  • water temperature increases;
  • loss of aquatic habitat and diversity;
  • channel instability;
  • sediment transport; and
  • degradation of water quality.

Drinking Polluted WaterThese impacts cause the loss of many natural resource values of the river, including its value as the primary public drinking water supply for Greenwich & Stamford, cold water habitat/ecosystem for native fish (trout), as well as an ideal recreational experience.

The City of Stamford and `Friends of Mianus River Park' are asking for the cooperation of all park users in allowing this delicate riverside area time to rehabilitate, and to use only the Main Gate entrance up the road from the bridge.

In the spring, rehabilitative plantings and riverbank stabilization measures will be implemented with State and City approvals. Additional measures are also under consideration. Please honor the signs and help us keep the river and park sustainable for future generations.

Complaints (vandalism, repair needs, etc.) and compliments:
call City of Stamford Citizens Service Center (203) 977-4140 or go or online at: http://www.cityofstamford.org/content/25/52/138/164/168/4251.aspx

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