Land Preservation & Hiking
Our region of the state includes a bounty of farms, forests, lakes and streams; but they are threatened by suburban sprawl and if we want to maintain our close connection with nature we must work to preserve what remains and grow our towns intelligently. This section lists many of the preservation groups in our region that preserve land. They need your support and are a great way to get involved.
These properties are also great places for hiking. Most maintain trails and some lead educational walks.
Land trusts acquire land and hold it in trust for the general good. They also maintain the land, develop hiking trails and offer educational programs about their properites. They are non profit membership organizations and look to you for their support. They are an exellant way of investing in the future of our area and maintaining the land and scenary we all enjoy. A full listing can be found at Connecticut Land Trusts.
Those in our region include:
BELDING WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA is a 282-acre parcel of land in Vernon that was donated by Maxwell Belding to the State of Connecticut. A 1981 Memorandum of Understanding identifies the Department of Environmental Protection as the steward of the land and instructs the agency to utilize modern wildlife, forestry and conservation practices to maintain and improve the land.
BOLTON LAND TRUST seeks to maintain and improve the quality of life by permanently preserving land in Bolton and in neighboring towns where appropriate. With its rural character, easy access to a major urban area, strong school system and beautiful countryside, Bolton faces development pressures that the land trust hopes to balance by preserving agricultural land, untouched forests, river corridor properties and historic areas. They protect about 50 acres on several holdings.
CONSERVING TOLLAND was began in 2000 with the town of Tolland working as its own land trust and protecting about 1750 acres, with many available for hiking. Conserving Tolland hosts community events to educate residents about conservation and wildlife. They also host recreational events to encourage people to enjoy the trails.
GREAT MEADOWS CONSERVATION TRUST was incorporated in 1968 by concerned citizens of Wethersfield, Rocky Hill and Glastonbury to protect and preserve the Great Meadows. They wish to save the floodplain's vital agricultural, scenic, archeological and wetland resources, and are committed to working with like-minded groups and landowners. They control about 150 acres.
JOSHUA'S TRACT CONSERVATION AND HISTORIC TRUST is one of the oldest local conservation and historic trusts in the State of Connecticut. A non-profit organization, the Trust is designed to supplement the open space efforts of federal, state, and local governments by receiving gifts of land, conservation easements, and money. Joshua's Trust now owns, or protects by easement, more than 3,000 acres of land preserved for the benefit of future generations, making the trust the fourth largest land trust in Connecticut. Although most of its properties is in Windham County it also includes property in Coventry, Willington and Tolland. It publishes its own walkbook.
KONGSCUT LAND TRUST mission is to Conserve open space and wildlife habitat in Glastonbury. They control about 300 acres. Website unknown.
MANCHESTER LAND CONSERVATION TRUST is dedicated to fostering the acquisition, preservation, and maintenance of open space lands and water resources throughout Manchester and the surrounding towns. They protect about 300 acres in the towns of Manchester, Vernon, Bolton and East Hartford.
NORTHERN CT LAND TRUST (NCLT) serves the towns of East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Somers, Stafford, and Vernon. It is entirely supported by memberships, fundraising, and donations. They strive to help individual landowners preserve the unique qualities and beauty of their property: woodland and forests, agricultural and open spaces, wetlands and water resources, and plant and animal life. They also aim to enhance the awareness and appreciation of these areas, by creating and maintaining trails and offering guided hikes and lectures to the public. They protect about 800 acres on 25 properties.
SOUTH WINDSOR LAND CONSERVATION TRUST was founded in 1976. Their missin is to accept or purchase land or easements for open space, and to educate about open space and land trust functions. They protect about 125 acres in South Windsor and surrounding towns. Website unknown.
CONNECTICUT FOREST AND PARK ASSOCIATION (CFPA), founded in 1895, is the oldest private, nonprofit conservation organization in CT. It is largely responsible for the establishment of many of our state parks and forest; is a strong and respected advocate for conservation and environmental legislation in CT; established and maintains the 700 miles of the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System. They publish the Connecticut Walk Books with maps and descriptions of all the Blue-Blazed trails in the state. Visit their website for schedule, membership and contact information.