When complete, the Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG) will follow the Naugatuck River for approximately 44 miles, and will link 11 municipalities, help reclaim the Naugatuck River for recreation, provide an alternate mode of transportation, support tourism and economic development in the region, and improve the quality of life of valley residents. The NRG, which will consist of a multiuse trail, parks and green space, will start in Torrington and follow the river south through Litchfield, Harwinton, Thomaston, Watertown, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Ansonia and Derby. As of 2017, there are five sections of NRG trail open to the public representing approximately 10% of the total length of planned trail with additional sections in various phases of design with plans for construction in the coming years.
Long dismissed as a polluted and "dead" river due to a legacy of industrial abuse, the Naugatuck River has made a remarkable comeback over the last several decades, and is increasingly a destination for anglers, paddlers and sightseers. The NRG will provide access and reconnect communities to the river that have historically turned their backs on it, with waterfront promenades, overlooks, boat launches, and fishing access points all figuring into greenway plans. The multiuse trail will provide a high quality and attractive corridor that will accommodate both walkers and persons riding a bicycle safely.
The communities along the Naugatuck River are also recovering from the loss of the industrial base that grew up along the river and once drove local economies. The NRG is envisioned as one way to help communities reclaim the river as a driver of local economies and a way to improve local quality of life. The NRG will draw sightseers, cyclists and recreationalists to the valley, and will provide opportunities for local businesses to capitalize on this increased tourist traffic. At the same time, the NRG will give local residents a local multiuse trail to recreate on rather than travelling to trails elsewhere, and will improve the health and quality of life of those who use it. Since many of the communities along the trail route are in close proximity to each other, the trail will provide a safe and convenient non-motorized alternative for commuting in the valley for those who cannot or would rather not use a personal motor vehicle or public transit. These benefits have already been borne out on open sections of NRG, as the trail has become a popular destination and meeting place among residents and non-residents alike, and as a means for transportation. These economic and quality of life benefits will increase as more trail sections are built.