Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 avaailable 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, proved 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.
In 2013, CLT announced it was one of just 13 land trusts in the state of Connecticut and one of 301 in the nation to have achieved accreditation, a rigorous process that provides the public, landowners, donors and members with the confidence that lands entrusted to the Colchester Land Trust are conserved and cared for in perpetuity.
At the tail end of 2015, CLT began work to preserve the Tangletree Farm on Lebanon Road by applying for a US Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service, grant to purchase an agricultural conservation easement on the 88-acre property. During this time, in 2016, 115 acres representing the original subdivision for which CLT had been given the 15-acre set-aside on Bulkeley Hill presented itself. CLT was offered to purchase the property and half its value of $400,000 and given just four months to close on the property, which we were able to do through a 30-month, low-interest loan from The Conservation Fund. In order to repay the loan and continue our work on the Tangletree Farm, CLT launched its 200 Acre Farm and Forest campaign to raise funds for both projects. Enough funds were raised to repay the loan earlier this year, and a second loan was taken in order to finalize the purchase of the Tangletree Farm project, which we are currently working to repay. If you'd like to help with this project, please visit our donation page and make a gift to the CLT.
As of 2019, Tangletree Farm and Bulkeley Hill Preserve have become realities: an important easement and a large preserve, respectively. Tangletree Farm graciously hosts our annual fall event. CLT is working diligently to establish Bulkeley Hill Preserve as a public venue, with blazed trails and a parking lot. Both properties conserve significant land and water resources in Colchester. We greatly appreciate all that the community has done to help CLT achieve these milestones.