The purpose of the Colchester Land Trust is to protect the beauty and natural diversity of our area by preserving significant land and scenic areas for present and future generations. We are dedicated to maintaining Colchester's rural character and stand for clean air and water, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and local agriculture.
History and Progress
The Colchester Land Trust (CLT) was started in 2002 by a group of concerned citizens who came together to discuss the rapid development of the town and options available to landowners for preservation of their lands.
In 2004 CLT achieved federal nonprofit 501(c)3 status, which enabled us to provide potential tax deductions to land donors and supporting members.
In June of 2006, the CLT received its first donation of land from Mr. David Drew - a 4-acre parcel with little conservation value but which, in the long run, proves to be a valuable asset for obtaining loans for more significant parcels.
In January 2007 the CLT entered into an agreement with Mr. Chet Reneson to purchase 18 acres of land (known as the "Gateway to the Airline Trail") for a sum of $190,000. Later that year, the CLT received a 62-acre conservation easement on River Road from Mr. Toney Palakewitz.
In 2009, the CLT joined forces with the Town of Colchester by donating $42,000 toward the purchase of an important parcel of land bordering the town-owned, 117-acre, Ruby Cohen Woodlands. The CLT also received two subdivision set asides in 2009 - a 25-acre wooded parcel on Usher Swamp Road and a 14 acre wooded parcel on Bulkeley Hill Road. During this time, the CLT began eyeing accreditation by the national Land Trust Alliance. This pursuit began in earnest in 2010, as the CLT crafted formal policies and wrote the standards and practices needed prior to applying.
This year, the Colchester Land Trust is proud to announce that we are now a nationally accredited land trust - one of just 13 in the state of Connecticut and one of 301 in the whole U.S. This fall, the CLT will be embarking on a review and update of our strategic plan. Our last plan was developed in 2011 and, in looking where we've been and how far we've come, this update will set our vision for the next three to five years.