The Thames River Quest, a free, treasure-hunt style educational hike at historic sites on the New London and Groton sides of the river, will be offered for a second year as part of Connecticut Trails Day on June 1.
For this year’s Thames River Quest, a “Hidden Thames Street” hike in Groton has been added to the original three hikes, at Fort Trumbull State Park and the downtown waterfront park in New London and at Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park in Groton.
“This year we are happy to include an easy access, family-friendly quest for those interested in the history of Thames Street, Groton’s original center of commerce,” said Marian Galbraith, interim president of the heritage park’s foundation.
Also new this year is a rewritten Quest hike for Fort Trumbull that is shorter and easier than last year to give more participants time to take advantage of the free rides on the park’s water taxi and complete the hikes at the other sites. The Quest hikes were created by a partnership of Connecticut Sea Grant and the Thames River Heritage Park.
“We’re so pleased to partner again with Sea Grant for this fun, family event,” said Amy Perry, executive director of the heritage park. “Last year’s Thames River Quest drew more than 150 participants enjoying fresh air, history and time away from personal electronic devices.”
The water taxi will take participants between Fort Trumbull, the waterfront park and the municipal dock on Thames Street in Groton that provides access to Fort Griswold and to the portion of Thames Street where the “Hidden Thames Street” Quest takes place. Quest participants will be able to ride the water taxi free of charge from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration for the hike will open on May 28 at: http://thamesriverheritagepark.org/quests/.
“Our partnership with the Thames River Heritage Park enables us to promote local maritime history while celebrating the Thames River,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant. “Participants can challenge themselves to complete one or more Quests while exploring historic sites and enjoying the opportunity to be outdoors and on the river.”
For each of the four Quests, participants will follow a series of clues provided in a downloadable PDFs that can be printed at home. The PDFs will be available at: http://thamesriverheritagepark.org/quests/ on May 31. In the course of answering the clues, hikers will learn about the history and ecology of the river while solving a word puzzle that leads to a treasure box. Participants can start at any of the Quest sites: Fort Trumbull at 90 Walbach St., New London; the New London Waterfront Park at City Pier, 1 Waterfront Park, New London; or Fort Griswold and Thames Street at 301 Thames St., Groton.
Connecticut Trails Day, an annual event sponsored by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, consists of more than 250 hikes, paddles, educational walks and other outdoor activities organized by land trusts, individual volunteers, conservation organizations and other groups. Part of the National Trails Day celebration on the first weekend of June, the Connecticut event is the largest in the country, according to the Forest & Park Association.
In addition to Connecticut Sea Grant and the Thames River Heritage Park, the Thames River Quest is also being sponsored by The Day Publishing Co.
For more information and to register for one or all four of the Thames River Quest hikes, visit: http://thamesriverheritagepark.org/quests/. Registration information is also available on the Connecticut Trails Day website at: https://www.ctwoodlands.org/ct-trails-weekend
For more information, contact Connecticut Sea Grant Communications Coordinator Judy Benson at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Thames River Heritage Park Executive Director Amy Perry at: email@example.com.