Hockanum River Watershed Association
Manchester, East Hartford, Ellington, Vernon
HOCKANUM: From the Native American word “Hocquaun”, meaning a hook-shaped or crooked river.
Now having hiked most of their trails, I have a Hockanum Manifesto. Here it is:
I love the Hockanum Trail. There are no mountains or even hills. There are barely any rocks. The trail takes hikers along, over, and under highways numerous times. It straddles obviously polluted rivulets. It takes hikers to a landfill, multiple water treatment plants, CL&P substations… it touches the backlots of a strip club, an adult superstore, a dozen apartment buildings, tire shops, a junkyard, and abandoned warehouses. Certain areas are “cruising” areas for men out for anonymous and quick gratification. It crosses a railroad trestle. And a homeless camp.
And yet, I truly love this trail. I love that it exists where it does. This is nature pushing on urban development, rather than the far less interesting – and more prevalent – development encroaching on nature. No one likes hiking the Shenipsit from Glastonbury to Manchester, weaving between new McMansions because that’s suburbia moving into where it “shouldn’t” be. Somehow, in some weird way, the Hockanum Trails provide a unique, interesting, and genuinely amazing experience because, I think, the development existed first. The amount of trail work and maintenance that goes into the Hockanum Trails is astounding.
The HRWA isn’t a land trust but I’m including them with my giant list of land trusts. Because no one really cares. I just needed a place to put this page since the HRWA maintains a bunch of trails in four towns.
Again, they are decidedly more urban than most trails and the descriptions on the HRWA website are fantastic: “Portion of this trail is closed because of falling bricks from the deteriorating mill.”
The Hockanum River Linear Park Committee was created in 1970 as a joint group of volunteers merged to work together for the preservation of the river’s 7-mile long green belt through the Town of Manchester. This band of environmentalists, from the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Manchester Jaycees, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, all shared a devotion to the Hockanum River, its scenic beauty, its diverse recreational potentials, and its need to be cleaned up and protected from ever-spreading commercial development.
If linked, I’ve hiked it.
- Meadow Hill
Martin Park to Hillside
Hillside to Olde Roberts