Manchester, Connecticut

Passive Recreation


The Manchester Water Department has developed an impressive system of trails on watershed properties that protect and provide buffer zones surrounding the Town’s reservoirs and their tributaries. Under authorization from the State of Connecticut, the Water Department is able to allow passive recreational activities in designated areas of these watersheds. Participants can enjoy walking, hiking and other similar passive activities (listed below) on the land that surround Globe Hollow, Porter, Howard and Lydall Reservoirs in Manchester and Buckingham Reservoir in Glastonbury. A trail system also exists around Risley Reservoir which is owned by the Manchester Land Trust. A small section of this trail passes through Water Department property.


The Town of Manchester’s Passive Recreation Program is authorized under Section 25-43c of Connecticut General Statutes. The purpose of this program is to allow participants to enjoy the natural beauty of the watersheds while still providing protection to the Town’s Drinking Water Supply. Failure to follow the Rules & Regulations detailed herein could result in the suspension or revocation of the program by the State of Connecticut Department of Health. Please abide by these Rules & Regulations and obey the signs that are posted throughout the watersheds so that we may continue to offer this valuable program to the community.


  • Porter/Howard: Access available from parking lot on Ferguson Road. Limited access from Finley Street.
  • Globe Hollow: Access available from parking lot on Line Street; also from the Globe Hollow Swimming Pool parking lot on Spring Street.
  • Buckingham: Access available at various locations.
  • Lydall: No formalized parking area is available. Please check back for updates.
  • Risley: Parking areas located off of Lake Street.
Please be aware that not all of the land abutting these Reservoirs is owned by the Water Department. Care and respect should be used when parking and walking in areas that are on or near private property.

Hours: The use of these areas is only allowed from Sunrise to Sunset.
Participation: The Passive Recreation Program only authorizes residents of Manchester, Manchester property owners, Town of Manchester Employees, and customers of the Manchester Water Department. Use of a driver’s license, state ID card, tax or utility bill and/or Town Employee ID can be used as proof of eligibility. Minors are allowed to use the passive recreational areas while in the company of a parent, legal guardian or adult over the age of 21 years old.

Group Permit: Special permission maybe granted for a group event, research project or activity beneficial to the ratepayers of the Manchester Water Department. Requests for these types of activities should be made in writing and directed to the Administrator of the Water Department at least two weeks before the event. The Water Department reserves the right to require insurance, refuse pickup, traffic and crowd control, and other reasonable measures to ensure protection of the water supply and the Department’s property. Such requirements will be at the sole discretion of the Water Department. The procurement of these requirements, including costs, shall be the responsibility of the permittee.

Allowed Recreational Activities: Passive activities include walking, hiking, jogging, running, cross-country skiing, controlled orienteering or nature photography on established trails.
The following activities are strictly prohibited:
  • Swimming or wading in the reservoirs or tributaries
  • Littering
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Activities of any types on the ice of any frozen reservoir or tributary
  • Discharge of firearms or dangerous weapons, hunting and trapping unless specifically permitted
  • Motors (motor bikes, snowmobiles, motorized vehicles of any type)
  • Fires
  • Camping
  • Removal of trees, shrubs, flowers, or other vegetation
  • Vendors (except for authorized special events)
  • Pets, unless controlled and restrained on a leash
  • Dumping, disposal or discharge of wastes or other substances into any reservoir, tributary or property
  • Boating, unless specifically permitted
  • Horses
  • Bicycling, unless specifically permitted
  • Fishing
  • Any activity that would result in vandalism, soil or vegetation erosion, or other abuses
Litter and Waste: Littering is strictly prohibited. All pet wastes must be removed from from the premises and disposed of in a sanitary manner.
Dogs: Please note that as per state statute and local ordinances, dogs (or humans for that matter) are not allowed to swim, wade or bathe in public drinking water supplies or their tributaries. To accommodate aquatic-loving canines, a non-tributary pond has been made available off the watershed where dogs are allowed to swim. It is aptly named “Dog Pond”. To access Dog Pond, follow the trail furthest to the right from the Ferguson Road parking area for approximately 1/4 mile; this path will lead directly to Dog Pond.

Other Issues:
  • Recreators shall obey all signs, orders and directions of staff and security.
  • Violators maybe subject to arrest, fine(s) and/or punishment under Connecticut General Statute Title 25, Chapter 474, Sections 25-43, et seq. Also under the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Manchester Chapter 315, Sections 1-17.
  • It is specifically understood that the participation in the “Passive Recreation Program” is at the sole risk of the participant.

Please enjoy the Passive Recreation Program. Be respectful of others and leave the areas as you found them.

For more information please call the Water Department Office at 860-647-3201.