Fundraiser on Tap for February 11th
Febuary 11, 2017
The Land Trust "Winterbrau" fundraiser was a resounding success. Thanks to all who helped make this so. This includes everyone who bought a ticket and attended the event! The Fat Orange Cat provided ample samplings of their local craft beers to wash down the barbeque, smoked meats, and fine hors d'oeuvres provided by CLT. The crowd included a great mix of old and new members, friends, neighbors, as well as our Board members. Special thanks to Sheila, Mike, Scott and the staff of Fat Orange Cat for hosting this first Winterbrau. Proceeds from ticket sales and the raffle will support the Colchester Land Trust's 200-acre Farm and Forest campaign, including the creation of a 130-acre community forest and the preservation of an 88-acre working horse breeding farm. The Colchester Land Trust is an all-volunteer non-profit organization working to preserve the rural character of Colchester and the well-being of its citizens by permanently protecting farms, forests, meadows, wetlands and other conservation lands.
CLT Closes on 115-Acres
August 25, 2016 - On Friday, August 18, the Colchester Land Trust (CLT) closed on a
major aquisition of 115 acres with the help of a 30-month low interest loan from The Conservation Fund. The property had been proposed as a 44-lot subdivision in 2006 but landed in foreclosure after the developer declared bankruptsy. Representatives
from the trust acted quickly to negotiate a bargain sale before the California investment firm left holding the property put it back onto the market. The investor was eager to get the $403,000 property off the
books and accepted $200,000 as a bargain sale to the Colchester Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
400 Colchester families live within one mile of the Bulkeley Hill
Preserve,” said Andy George, president of the CLT. The 115-acre property is about
1.5 miles south of Rt. 16 and lies adjacent to 15 acres acquired by the trust in 2006, bringing the total size of the preserve to 130 acres. Two thirds of the property contain critical headwaters of the federally recognized “Wild and Scenic”
Eightmile River. The other third flows east into Cabin Brook and the
Salmon River watershed. It is one of the largest remaining single
properties in Colchester and, as a preserve, will be kept in its natural state
with some trails maintained for for passive recreation such as hiking, birding, and snowshoeing. “We are planning passive public access with
trails and site markers for possible education and youth projects. As a preserve,
we want to keep the land in its natural state, while allowing managed
community access.” Said George.
The Trust received accreditation
from the Land Trust Alliance in 2015. Fewer than 400 trusts in the U.S. and fewer than 20 in Connecticut have this designation. Accreditation assures that CLT uses best
practices in its relations with donors, landowners and the residents of
Colchester, assuring their efforts have the best interest of the
community and its land in mind. “Accountability is the cornerstone of
accreditation,” said George.
The trust is now beginning its efforts
to raise needed funds to repay the loan from The Conservation Fund and to complete the aquisition of a conservation easement on the 88-acre Tangletree Farm on Lebanon Avenue. A 200-Acre Campaign will rely on many sources to
support the two projects including funds from grants, major
donors, community groups, private environmental groups and individual donors.
200 Acres to Be Preserved in Colchester
July 27, 2016 -
Colchester Land Trust (CLT) is excited to announce it has reached an agreement with two Colchester land owners that will result in the conservation nearly 200 acres in town. The first is an acquisition of a 115-acre wooded parcel on Bulkeley Hill Road slated to take place in late August, 2016. The property is adjacent to 15 acres acquired by CLT in 2007, making the total size of the preserve 130 acres. Roughly two thirds of the property form the headwaters of the federally designated 'Wild and Scenic' Eightmile River watershed, and another third lies within the Salmon River watershed. It is one of the largest remaining properties in Colchester, and as a preserve, will be kept natural with trails maintained for hiking and other forms of passive recreation. The CLT intends to provide community opportunities for environmental study as well as school and youth access. In 2007, this land was approved for a 44-lot housing development, but hard times caused the project to fail. The property has recently been appraised for $403,000 but the CLT was successful in negotiating a bargain sale of just $200,000 from the California creditor left holding the title. "This property has received the highest project evaluation by our board of any property we have considered," said George. "The Preserve is a bargain not to be missed." A 30-month loan from The Conservation Fund will allow the CLT to close on the property and raise the necessary funds to repay the loan. The Connecticut Land Conservation Council will provide a land management plan at no cost to CLT as part of a pilot project that other Connecticut trusts will follow. "This is a model conservation project for Colchester," commented George. A map of this property's location may be viewed here.
The second project, anticipated to close by year's end, is the acquisition of an agricultural conservation easement, or purchase of development rights, on Tangletree Farm in eastern Colchester on Rt. 16, near the Lebanon border. The CLT has already received a federal grant for $176,500 (approximately ½ the easement value) from Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The 88-acre farm is adjacent to the Colchester Commons, a close knit community of about 100 families and forms a corridor with other preserved lands in both Colchester and Lebanon. Currently operated as
a horse breeding farm, the land contains significant prime agricultural soils and covers a town designated aquifer, identified as essential for clean drinking water for local wells. "If we did not take immediate action, this land would have been at risk for development. Purchasing the development rights helps to stabilize taxes, preserve clean drinking water and secure a farm for future generations," Said George. A map of this property's location in town may be viewed here.
The trust is now raising needed funds. The 200-Acre Farm and Forest Campaign will rely on many sources to fund the projects. To give them time, they have applied for "no" and "low" interest loans to "bridge" the time CLT has to raise the money. The Conservation Fund has generously provided the first loan. Funds from grants, major donors, community groups, private environmental groups and a grass roots efforts will all be sought to meet the mortgage deadlines. To learn more about these and other Colchester Land Trust projects, visit www.colchesterlandtrust.org, like CLT's facebook page and follow the organization on Instagram.
Scholarship Recipient Announced
June. 14, 2016 -
The Colchester Land Trust annually invests in the future of the environment and conservation by offering a $1,000 scholarship to a Bacon Academy senior planning to further his or her education in a related field of study. This year the board of the Colchester Land Trust is pleased to announce Ms. Lauren Hickey is its 2016 scholarship recipient. Ms Hickey impressed members of the CLT's scholarship selection committee with her commitment to the sustainability of local farms, a key principal in maintaining the rural character and open spaces of eastern Connecticut, through the Farm to School initiative and Academy Acres garden, both of which she helped to create and organize. The board of the CLT wishes this amazing difference maker a wonderful college experience and every success in her future pursuits.