Publication: In Your Northwest Corner

In Your Northwest Corner Vol. 23

February 15, 2024

Originally Published May 31, 2022

Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests and supporting organizations cut the vine at the dedication of the Agnes Bowen Trail.


A Welcoming Forest for Residents and Visitors

Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests, Inc. (FALPS) of Barkhamsted works to enhance, advocate, and encourage use and awareness of the recreational opportunities, cultural heritage, and natural resources of the American Legion and Peoples State forests.

FALPS provides guided trail walks, trail maps, and nature programs, and conducts trail maintenance and improvements. Throughout the year, FALPS hosts a wide array of events each season, including hikes, nature talks, camping education, historical studies, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and birding.

A recent grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Elson-Slemmer Fund for the Environment supported the purchase of lumber to finish rerouting the 2.8 mile Agnes Bowen Trail. Volunteers used the lumber to build an extensive network of bog bridges and an observation deck through a unique wetland habitat adjacent to Beaver Brook Meadow

“In these Covid times, Peoples Forest is a very busy place that is enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people," said Jean Miller of Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests.

"State forests like Peoples are a great asset to our region and bring people here who then take advantage of other opportunities for recreation or dining. "

Hand Painted by Lois, a featured artist at the 2022 Litchfield Arts Festival

Supporting and Showcasing Local Artists

The Voice of Art (VOA) is a visual arts organization dedicated to creating art experiences that enrich the lives of Litchfield County and CT residents. VOA brings visibility to emerging and established artists through virtual and in-person galleries.

In 2021, The Voice of Art launched the Litchfield Arts Festival, an outside juried fine art show that is free to the public.

Grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Robert B. and Cheryl Freehill Pauls Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Khurshed Bhumgara Fund supported the launch of the Litchfield Arts Festival, which has become a popular recurring event throughout Litchfield County with spring, summer, fall, and winter shows showcasing more than 50 artists.

"[these grants] were tremendously helpful, enabling The Voice of Art to lay the foundation for the Litchfield Arts Festival, as a one-of-a-kind professional art event in Northwest CT," said Hannah Jung of The Voice of Art.

Keeping Lights on and Home Temperatures Safe for Vulnerable Residents

Operation Fuel has been providing temporary relief for local community members faced with making difficult decisions around the cost of housing fuel since 1977. Operation Fuel remains the primary source of assistance for low- to moderate-income households that have exhausted other options for keeping their utilities on and are having to choose between having lights and water and purchasing food and medications.

"Many families have lost income due to the coronavirus, making it more difficult to pay for their basic living expense, including energy costs,” said Elsa Monteiro of Operation Fuel.

A recent grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Edward W. Diskavich Fund provided support for the more than 90 Northwest CT households struggling to pay utility and oil bills.

"Our greatest challenge is that we already receive more requests for assistance than we can fill. With your support, we will be able to assist more families in Northwest CT," said Elsa