Walks Highlight Land Trust Gems


Walks Highlight Land Trust Gems

One of the reasons our national heritage corridor has an abundance of open and conserved land is due to the land trusts actively working within the 35 towns of The Last Green Valley.

Walktober offers the perfect opportunity to visit a land trust property and learn more about each organization’s mission of conservation, while enjoying a beautiful location. Here is a list of several land trust walks, hikes and experiences over the next few weeks for you to consider.

Joshua’s Trust is the largest land trust in The Last Green Valley with more than 50 years of operation, protecting about 4,500 acres through acquisitions and conservation easements. They are sponsoring four Walktober walks during the next few weeks. For additional information on all their walks e-mail activities@joshuastrust.org or call the trust office at 860-429-9023 during office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m.

J. Byle’s Sanctuary, Route 44 (118-125 Ashford Center Road) in Ashford is hosting a walk 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. There is limited parking at Henrietta House B&B or at North Veterinary Clinic across the road. Marian Matthews, owner and proprietor of Henrietta House, will lead this popular walk connecting past and present on this easy to moderate two-mile loop hike past meadowland, down a short steep section next to a stream, and then through a bio-diverse climax forest.

You can find a less demanding walk in the out-of-doors with an easy half-mile stroll at the Joshua’s Trust property Löf Woodlands at 10 a.m. Oct. 14 at Willington Hill Road (Route 320), Mansfield. Land Steward Gary Griffin will lead this enjoyable walk. It’s great for children and dogs on leash. Bring binoculars if you want.

Joshua’s Trust will host Atwood Farm Cider Pressing, 19th Century Way, 624 Wormwood Hill Road, Mansfield from 2-4 p.m. Oct 14. The 19th century farm also serves as the organization’s headquarters. Come with the family as the folks from Joshua’s Trust gather the apples in the orchard and take them to the cider press to make cider for the winter months.

Take the challenge of Two Sisters Tract Bog and Wetlands Walk in Chaplin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 29. Juan Sanchez and Deb Field, a wetlands specialist, lead this moderately difficult walk on bogs and wetlands. Located on Route 6 in Chaplin, 0. 8 miles north of Rte. 203 between Quintana Memorials & Pleasant View Motel, there is parking on the shoulder of Route 6. Appropriate footwear for possible muddy and wet areas is suggested. This walk is limited to 12 walkers so registration is required; age 12 and older only, and no dogs please.

Avalonia Land Trust is located in southeastern Connecticut and has been in operation since 1968. The land trust holds more than 3,200 acres preserved in perpetuity as open space and is working on some significant holdings on the southern end of The Last Green Valley.

It will host an easy, family-friendly treasure hunt for animal habitats at Knox Preserve, Wilcox Road in Stonington, at 1 p.m. Oct. 29. There’s a lot to see in a small area, such as stone walls, birds and coastal vistas. Bring a smartphone or tablet and link to Avalonia’s Hike and Seek Project Webpage for the full program at http://avalonialandconservancy.org/hike-and-seek/. Bring binoculars to see birds and their habitat.

The Eastern Connecticut Forest Landowners Association/Wolf Den Land Trust has been in operation since 1979 and stewards more than 500 acres of forest at 10 locations.

The organization is sponsoring a walk at 1 p.m. Oct. 15 at their popular site, Blue Flag Meadow, at 420 Kenyon Road, Hampton. Join friends and members of Eastern Connecticut Forest Landowners/Wolf Den Land Trust as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Blue Flag Meadow being donated to the land trust. Learn about the history of this picturesque site and its varied and unique habitat. Blue Flag Meadow includes maintained fields and a 2-mile loop trail through a mix of forest and a small pond. The site is also known as an excellent location for viewing woodcock.

Groton Open Space Association has been an advocate for land, water and wildlife in southeastern Connecticut since its founding in 1967. The organization was the catalyst behind the protection and creation of two iconic shoreline state parks, Haley Farm State Park and Bluff Point State Park.

Enjoy the Quarry Loop Hike at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 in Groton next to 1425 Gold Star Hwy, Route 184. This is a scenic hike on the state’s newest pitch pine preserve, acquired in March, through a stretch of water company land. The hike features rocky ridges, cliffs, historic quarries and includes a moderately steep climb. Wear hiking boots, bring a snack and water. Heavy rain will cancel the hike. Registration is required by e-mailing dsmith0705@sbcglobal.net or calling 860-536-9811.

Wyndham Land Trust began conserving land in 1975 and has steadily grown to be one of the largest land trusts in the region. Today they have more than 50 parcels in 10 towns totaling 2,271 acres. The land trust also protects almost 700 acres through conservation easements or restrictions held by the trust.

Wyndham Land Trust is sponsoring two walks on Oct. 14. First there is the Rapoport/Spalding Preserve walk at 10 a.m., located on the dead end of Calkins Road in Woodstock. Hike the fields, woods, and wetlands of this scenic and very popular 154-acre property. Then, at 1 p.m. you can experience Wyndham Land Trust’s newest and largest holding during the Bull Hill Preserve hike located on Bull Hill Road in Woodstock. This site includes a fabulous scenic vista along the walk.

Thanks to the work of our region’s land trusts, The Last Green Valley has many exceptional locations for hiking, viewing nature and enjoying the great outdoors. These land trusts contribute to the quality of life we have come to enjoy and expect living here. I hope you’ll join me in visiting one during the month of Walktober. Along with our land trusts, we care for, enjoy and pass on this special place we call The Last Green Valley.

Bill Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. He has lived in the region for more than 30 years and can be reached at bill@tlgv.org


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