Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in
importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
Bulkeley Hill Preserve
The Bulkeley Hill property is a 130-acre preserve, 15-acres of which were originally deeded to the CLT by the developer of a proposed 115-acre, 44-lot subdivision. The donation was a town-mandated open space set-aside for the first phase of development, which was never built. In August, 2016, CLT was able to negotiate a bargain sale for the remaining 115-acres with the lender who was left holding the property after the original developer failed to make payment on his loan. Two thirds of this property hold critical headwaters of the Eightmile River with the remaining third flowing into the Salmon River watershed. The preserve provides a scenic view to travelers on Bulkeley Hill Road. It supports a variety of wildlife with its 23-acre wetland system that includes a small pond, intermittent streams, and vernal pools. Once part of the original Bulkeley farm, this property contains many stone walls, and a large sugarbush, tapped for the first time in March 2014. There are several existing trails on the property which are available to the public for passive recreation such as hiking, birding, or showshoeing, and which may be accessed from the parking lot on Bulkeley Hill Road. When visiting the preserve, we ask that you please be respectful of our neighbors and avoid parking on their lawns or in their driveways. Instead, please park in the recently constructed parking lot. More work remains, but it is usable!
The Gateway property is an 18 acre parcel on Bull Hill Road in Colchester bordered by the Salmon River State Forest and the Airline Trail State Park greenway. This forested property, with its tumbling brooks and waterfalls, lies in the heart of our Salmon River corridor making it a high priority for the CLT. The parcel was purchased from Chet Reneson on July 11, 2007. The trust submitted and was awarded a State of Connecticut Open Space and Watershed Grant in the amount of $95,000. The Bafflin Foundation, located in Providence, RI also awarded a grant for $20,000 toward the purchase. In addition, a $10,000 challenge grant was successfully matched and numerous private donations made the preservation of this beautiful property possible and the CLT's purchase was quickly followed by a purchase of an adjoining 14 acres by the State of CT DEEP, for a total preservation of 32 acres.
The Whispering Winds property is a 25 acre preserve that was deeded to the Colchester Land Trust by the developer of the Whispering Winds subdivision on Usher Swamp Road as a town-mandated subdivision set-aside. This lovely wooded property lies in the headwaters of the federally designated, "Wild and Scenic" Eightmile River and abuts land owned and managed for open space by the East Haddam Fish and Game Club. It is accessible via an old car path at the end of Usher Swamp road.
Tangletree Farm Easement
The 86-acre Tangletree Farm has been an active horse-breeding farm since 1976, breeding and boarding horses from all over the United States. Once a dairy farm, the property consists of more than 90% prime or locally important agricultural soils, contains a significant wetland and protects a large aquifer. The parcel is adjacent to the Lebanon town line, lies very near the 687-acre Bartlett Brook Wildlife Management Area and is in close proximity to hundreds of acres of protected farms in Lebanon. it is also contiguous with the 250-acre White Oak Farm open space set-aside. This beautiful farm was preserved through an easement purchased by the Colchester Land Trust made possible by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a loan from The Conservation Fund.
The Palakewitz property is a 62 acre conservation easement generously donated to the CLT on December 27th, 2007 by the owner, Toney Palakawitz. The land lies in the heart of the Salmon River Watershed and is bordered to the south by River Road and by working farm land to the north by Rt. 2, providing this 4 lane highway with scenic views. The property is bordered to the west by the Salmon River State forest (one narrow private property lies between the forest and the easement) and to the east by a large privately held property. The Palakewitz easement property contains vernal pools, wildlife trails, many beautiful stone walls, prime agricultural soils, diverse forest and connectivity to other open space.
McDonald Road Property
The McDonald Road Property began as a 4 acre building lot donated to the Colchester Land Trust by Mr. David Drew for its monetary, rather than conservation, value. To this end, the property has served the CLT well as we have been able to use it as collateral in obtaining loans for the acquisition of other properties whose conservation value will be preserved in perpetuity. In June of 2018, Joseph Piechta donated an additional 52-acres, adjacent to the original lot, as part of a town-mandated open space set-aside. The enlarged parcel provides important ecological benefits, significant wildlife habitat, wetlands protection and open space for public enjoyment.
CLT PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS
Ruby II Property Donation
In 2009, the CLT joined forces with the Town of Colchester by donating $42,000 toward the purchase of an important 31-acre parcel of land bordering the town's own 117-acre Ruby and Elizabeth Cohen Woodlands Preserve bringing the total size of the preserve to 148 acres. This preserve holds two short, marked trails, two ponds, a grassy picnic area, and a marsh viewing area.