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Penny Foisey addresses the audience at the Connecticut Greenways awards ceremony on October 1.



Penny Foisey, president of Pomfret Horse & Trail Association, was presented the Connecticut Greenways Volunteer Award at a ceremony held October 1 at Charter Oak Park in Manchester, Conn. She was honored for her work on trails programs in Connecticut, especially for equestrians and in the Pomfret area.


The Connecticut Greenways Council, whose members are appointed by the Governor and leaders of the General Assembly, advise and assist in the coordination of state agencies, municipalities, regional planning organizations, and private citizens in voluntarily planning, designing, and implementing a system of greenways.


“Greenway” means a corridor of open space that may protect natural resources, preserve scenic landscapes and historical resources or offer opportunities for recreation or nonmotorized transportation. A greenway may connect existing protected areas and provide access to the outdoors, and may be located along a defining natural feature, a man-made corridor, or traditional trail routes.


A lifelong resident of Pomfret, Foisey has spent more than 50 years riding and exploring the many trails that meander through the woods and fields. Because of development and the building of new houses, some of those trails and access to that land has been lost. This was the impetus for Foisey and other equestrians to form Pomfret Horse & Trail Association (PHTA) in 2007. As its founding president, she has led the organization in its efforts to preserve, protect, and maintain open space and the centuries-old system of riding and hiking trails in Pomfret. Its members work closely with landowners, local land trusts, and the town to maintain access and expand trail networks.


“Penny is the heart and soul of trail restoration in Pomfret,” said Lisette Rimer, PHTA vice president and another longtime equestrian. “She knows nearly every trail, every property owner, and every horse owner in town.”


Foisey has been instrumental in developing agreements with landowners allowing Pomfret Horse and Trail members to ride on private land. She and husband David have spent hours clearing new trails with chain saws, weed-wackers, and loppers, as well as cleaning up trails blocked by fallen trees and littered with branches left by storms.


“Without Penny and David, there is no way we could clear and maintain the 30 miles of trails that we have opened up in Pomfret,” said Rimer. “Penny is the standard bearer of our mission of preserving trails through good riding practices and responsible use.”


Foisey said she was surprised and honored to be recognized by the Connecticut Greenways Council. “I was among a group of folks committed to developing trails throughout the State. Pomfret Horse & Trail Association is part of a state-wide effort to create, conserve, and maintain access to our linear parks. It was amazing to part of this day.”