Open Space Grants Preserve 2,000-Plus Acres of Land in 23 Connecticut Towns

“The earth turns, and the seasons, and for all his pride and power man cannot temper the winds or change their course. They are the unseen tides that shape our days and our years.”

– Hal Borland

Land. Space. Kept for generations to come. Water, soil, rivers, farmland. Greenways, tributaries, wildlife. Connected parcels. Leadership and vision, teamwork.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently announced $6.05 million in state grants being awarded to 23 municipalities in the state to “support the purchase of 2,005 acres of land that will be preserved as open space.”

Child on rocks outside.

Thinking ahead.

“Connecticut’s tradition of preserving open space has helped define our landscape and preserve its important natural resources and geographical beauty,” Governor Malloy said. “These grants continue our open space preservation legacy and will increase the availability of open space for our residents across our state.”

The grants are being awarded through the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and assists local governments, land trusts, and water companies in purchasing open space using funding from the Community Investment Act and state bond funds. This grant program requires match by the grant recipient and requires the open space land be protected by a conservation and public recreation easement, ensuring that the property is forever protected for public use and enjoyment.

“Since this program began in 1998, more than $125 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to assist in the purchase of more than 33,300 acres of land, including farmlands, in 137 cities and towns,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “These important open space properties protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

Open space projects help the State of Connecticut achieve its goal of protecting 673,210 acres of land by 2023 – approximately 21 percent of the land. Currently, the state has more than 500,000 acres designated as state or local open space lands – close to 75 percent of the goal.

The 2018 Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant awards include:

Town: Colebrook

Project Title: Deer Hill 87 Property
Sponsor: Colebrook Land Conservancy, Inc.
Grant: $81,000
Acreage: 87 acres

Description: This undeveloped, transitional hardwoods forested property is located in southeastern Colebrook in the southern Berkshire Range. The topographic variations (12’- 1,400′ ASL) include ridgeline, summit, escarpment, bottomland, hemlock ravine, and headwater stream habitats similar to that of Algonquin State Forest, located to the north. There is at least two threatened or endangered species locales that intersect this property.

Town: Cornwall

Project Title: Matland Tarradiddle
Sponsor: Cornwall Conservation Trust, Inc.
Address: 407 Sharon Goshen Turnpike
Grant: $180,000
Acreage: 72 acres

Description: This property includes former farmland located just northeast of West Cornwall. Having a varied topography, the diversity of this parcel includes mesic upland forest, dry upland forest, former pastureland, bedrock ledges, a spring and a stream. The property is the southern section of Tarradiddle Mountain and is part of the Housatonic River Greenway.

Town: East Haddam

Project Title: Sakolsky Property
Sponsor: East Haddam Land Trust, Inc.
Address: East of the Elementary School
Grant: $17,550
Acreage: 19.52 acres

Description: This is the second parcel submitted under this program to develop a 100-acre interconnecting greenway, connecting resources within the Moodus Village. This property contains a wetland and associated habitat that drains into Wigwam Brook and then to Salmon River. It also contains an upland hardwood forest habitat.

Life is for learning. Land, water, sky – a legacy of one generation to the next.

Town: Ellington

Project Title: Bellante Preserve
Sponsor: Northern Conn. Land Trust, Inc.
Address: Sandy Beach Road
Grant: $36,000
Acreage: 35 acres

Description: This 35-acre undeveloped upland forest is located in the eastern panhandle off Rt. 140 (Tolland Turnpike) in the Town of Ellington. The parcel abuts Erni Boothroyd Nature Preserve (NCLT), which is also in close proximity to Nye-Holman State Forest. Within a Conservation Corridor established by Capitol Region COG along the Willimantic River, the current owner has witnessed a plethora of wildlife including: turkey, fisher cats, coyotes, rabbits, various species of birds and bear.

Town: Essex

Project Title: Doane Property
Sponsor: The Essex Land Trust, Inc.
Address: 10 Ox Bow Lane
Grant: $166,950
Acreage: 18.54 acres

Description: The main purpose of this ridge property overlooking the Connecticut River is to connect or link three protected parcels: James Glen, and Doane’s Woods (ELT) with Lyons Meadow (DRLT) for a total of a 50-acre greenway. The varied wildlife habitats include open field, upland forest, forested wetland and a beaver pond.

Town: Hebron

Project Title: Calvin Fish Parcel
Sponsor: Town of Hebron
Address: In back of Gilead Hill Elementary School
Grant: $102,000
Acreage: 48 acres

Description: This parcel, with a terminal boundary on Fawn Brook (950 feet), abuts Gilead Hill School (Rt. 85) and is part of a long-term preservation effort to protect the Fawn Brook, a tributary to Salmon River. This undeveloped forested lot contains farmland that includes prime farmland soils, inland wetlands soils, access to a fishing opportunity that was not previously available and recreational/educational opportunity through the expansion of trails associated with Gilead Hill School.

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