Location: 10 acres in Mansfield, CT
Parking: Just before the bridge on Plains Rd Mansfield, CT
Trail Map Trails: 0.8 miles Rating: ★★☆☆☆
There are .35 miles of trail officially on the property and with the 26 acre Quinn family property, there is a .8 mile loop. From the parking lot, cross the open field to reach the trailhead of the Quinn trail. This section officially in the park crosses seasonal streams before skirting a bog. The trail splits heading south to Lynch Landing or north to Depot Lane. There are large directing signposts that are currently just leaning against trees as if the last step of placing them was forgotten. Heading towards Lynch Landing crosses “troll bridge” named by neighborhood children.
After paying the toll you reach the meadow and clearing on the riverbank named for Julia Lynch Quinn. The trail map notes this is a good fishing spot. Leaving the meadow passes through mountain laurel and switches uphill until it reaches the E.O. Smith Depot Campus. Since this is part of the Greenway, walking along Depot Rd and north on Rt. 44 will reach the next section at Spring Manor. Heading back towards River Park takes Helen Clark Lane an old farm road before relinking with the Quinn trail.
The boat launch at River Park is handicap accessible and boaters can travel about a mile downstream until the Eagleville Dam and as far upstream as the Rt 44 bridge. There are locked gates preventing direct car access. Due to the dam downstream, this section is slow and calm during normal conditions making it a great spot for beginners. Heading downstream towards the dam you pass under the Plains Rd bridge into wide and flat water. On a recent paddle, I saw not only herons and swooping birds but cows grazing along the bank. About a half mile downstream the water splits into several coves and marshy islands until reaching Eagleville Pond and the dam.
Heading upstream the river becomes much shallower and rocky. A third of a mile upstream was fast moving shallow section that I had to fight my way through. I was rewarded with a tiny waterfall joining the river. Shortly after that the river was nearly completely blocked by two fallen trees so I turned back to the boat launch.
The field is 3 acres and is open for recreation.
Peter Marteka – Making Autumn Connections Along the Willimantic River (2016)