River Park News        


The Friends of the Hockanum River Linear Park       Spring 2003  


Dear Friend,

The coming of spring has seen record numbers enjoying the Hockanum River parks – and we hope YOU are among them.  How nice to see this one-time vision of a river greenway become a reality!  Two Trails Day events are planned at the Park – and two new park sites in Rockville are in the works.  Read all about it  - in this second edition of River Park News.

   -- Ann Letendre, Board of Director, Friends of HRLP --





10:00 am  - THREE MILE HIKE

The Vernon Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor a three mile hike along the river trails.   Ryan Kane from the Department will lead the walk, which will cover the length of the current river trail system.

Meet at the Dart Hill North parking area.


 2:00 pm – NATURE WALK

The Friends will sponsor a nature walk at Dart Hill South, led by Ginny Gingras and Betty Tedford.  The walk will include discussion of invasive plant species, particularly those growing in the park.  Learn what you can do to help stop the rapid spread of unwanted plants. 

Meet at the Gazebo at  Dart Hill South.



    $$$   Membership Support:

it’s that time of year…….        

Thanks to your past support we were able to provide enhancements to the river parks – and most importantly, to purchase an additional two acres to the park in 2000.   Your tax-deductible contributions have also helped to complete the trails on the two-acre site, and to fund a needed bridge over the wet areas, to be constructed this summer.   Future work in the fall is planned for landscaping improvements in the play area in Dart Hill South. 

A membership contribution form for our next fiscal year is in this newsletter.   Your support is needed!  Community volunteers are also needed – please let us know if you want to be a part of planning for the future of the Hockanum River parks!!


Dart Hill North Park was officially opened at a ceremony in the new park last fall.   Mayor Diane Wheelock did the ribbon-cutting honors and commended the Vernon Parks and Recreation Department for their fine efforts in carrying out the construction and development of the park.

            The new park includes trails, picnic sites, a canoe/kayak boat launching dock, and a small parking area.  Friends members Ginny Gingras and Ann Letendre assisted with landscape plans.  Members George Arthur and Ed Dresner, and Parks & Recreation staff did a yeoman's job clearing the site of debris,  planning the trails and clearing the trees and shrubs for the trails.

Development of the park was funded by a State of Connecticut River Restoration Grant.  Charles Fredette of the Department of Environmental Protection was present at the ceremony and praised the efforts of the Parks and Recreation Department and other members of Town staff and the community for the diligent and timely completion of the new park. 



A Word About the Friends….

We thought we’d take a few lines to remind you why we exist – and what we do.  The Friends organization is a non-profit 501c3 organization whose purpose is to encourage citizen involvement in the river park as part of the effort to bring the community ‘back to the river’.   The larger goal of the river park, and thus a goal of our organization, is the continued clean-up and enhancement of the Hockanum River and its environs.  A ‘ribbon of green’ along the river contributes greatly to the environmental health of the river and protects the river’s eco-systems.

We organized in 1990 and received IRS non-profit status in1996.  We work closely with other Town conservation organizations that have river protection goals, such as the Hockanum River Linear Park Committee and the Conservation Commission. We apply for grants to enhance existing parks, to continue park development, and to encourage water quality protection.  To date we have received five grants, totaling over $43,000!  Our largest effort was the purchase of the two-acre addition to Dart Hill South Park, for which we received two grants totaling $20,000 towards the purchase price.

Our Board of Directors has worked diligently to provide the matching in-kind labor often required for these grants.  And YOUR contributions help with matching fund requirements (don’t forget to fill out your form!).    Our able and hard-working Board of Directors are:

Officers     Directors

President – Ginny Gingras  

George Arthur

Vice Pres. – Betty Tedford

Ed Dresner

Sec./Treas. – Ann Letendre

Amy Blaymore Paterson

Call us at 875-4623 or 875-9865 anytime for questions or comments! 

And by the way……..

If anyone has website skills and wants to volunteer to setup a site for us PLEASE CALL!




Saxony Park

This park will be located on the site of the former Saxony Mill on West Road, across from the intersection of West Main St in Rockville.   The entire parcel, about 3.9 acres, is owned by the Town of Vernon.  The Town will sell 1.0 acre of the site for development, and will retain the remaining 2.9 acres for the park .  This 2.9 acre future park area runs alongside the river and to the rear of the parcel, and is essentially the area protected by wetlands regulation.

The Friends of HRLP received a Recreational Trails grant for $7400 to develop the park site.  It will include a picnic/sitting area alongside the river, about 400 feet of a stonedust trail, and historical signs noting the remains of the old mill site on the parcel.

Bruce Dinnie and the Parks & Recreation Department will oversee the construction of the Park.  Many thanks to Friends members George Arthur and Ed Dresner who again wielded their trail blazing prowess and cleared a pathway for the future trail.


Corner Park

            Corner Park will be located at the corner of  East Main St. and Grove St. and will be incorporated into the “Rockville Gateway” park planned on the corner by the Rockville Downtown Association.  It is a small area about 1/5th of an acre and will be a sitting park overlooking Paper Mill Pond.  The site is currently owned by the State Department of Environmental Protection and is leased to the Town of Vernon.  

Improvements to the site will include removal of some of the trees to expose the pond view, landscaping, and installation of two benches.  A Victorian theme mirroring the mill era of Rockville will be used in the design.  Wrought iron fencing will be installed along the pond edge and at the property line of the neighboring auto facility. Luise Ernest of the Rockville Downtown Association will work on the overall park design.  Eagle Scout Rob Babcock will plan and install the plantings as an Eagle Scout project.  The development of the park is under the overall direction of Bruce Dinnie, Parks & Recreation Supervisor.





Friends of Hockanum River Linear Park, Inc.

Membership Contribution Form  -  for Fiscal Year July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004

 Name__________________________ Zip Code___________     o New Member

 Street______________________________    Town/State___________________

Tel:_____________   I would like to volunteer some time to help the Friends o

   o  INDIVIDUAL-$5.00              o FAMILY-$10.00                  o CONTRIBUTING-$25.00

 Send the form with your check to: 

Friends of HRLP,   21 Timber Lane,  Vernon, CT 06066


HRLP - Hockanum River Parks

HRLP - Slideshow presentation

HRLP - Newsletter
                            Spring 2003 (this page)

                            Summer 2004