Land trust touts ‘ambitious’ project

Land trust touts ‘ambitious’ project



Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” His words have inspired many to take a risk to achieve something meaningful and worthwhile. That’s just what the volunteers at the Berlin Land Trust are doing.

In November, they signed an agreement to purchase 47 acres of pristine land on Lamentation Mountain. The property is embedded deep within open space that has, in large part, already been protected. Its purchase would be the culmination of a long-term, co-operative program of open space protection, which began about 50 years ago.

It is one of the final pieces of the puzzle needed to protect the entire Lamentation Mountain ecosystem.

“We know that if we want to continue to grow and thrive, we had to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. This project is definitely more ambitious than anything we have done before, but we put a great team together and it is going to happen,” said Berlin Land Trust President Dennis Kern.

The property is located on the abandoned Stantack Road at the intersection of Middletown and Berlin.

The significance of this parcel is magnified by its central, interior location, and the fact that it is very well buffered on all sides by other undeveloped land.

The land contains five distinct critical habitats, three basalt ridges and easy access to the Connecticut Blue Blazed Trail.

The cliff line, described by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association  as "perhaps the most scenic traprock ridge walk in the state," is a prominent feature, visible for miles.

“This piece of property has it all; critical habitats for raptors, box turtles and other wildlife, a rare and state-threatened Swamp Cottonwood grove, vernal pools and cliffs and ridgelines that offer sweeping views of central Connecticut,” said Sigrun Gadwa, an ecologist from Carya Ecological Services.

Ms. Gadwa performed a detailed ecological assessment that gave the land trust the information it needed to submit an impressive open space grant application to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

In February, the land trust submitted its first-ever grant to DEEP to purchase the property. If successful, the state will pay for 65 percent of the appraised value. Then it is up to the land trust to raise the remainder from the community. The grants will be announced in February 2020.  

This project is particularly meaningful to the Berlin Land Trust members, who worked with Alice Fern Bruce, a founding member of the land trust. She was deeply invested in the preservation of Lamentation Mountain. In fact, upon her passing, she donated 41 acres to the Berlin Land Trust along the northern end of Lamentation Mountain. This new acquisition provides a unique opportunity to honor her commitment to land conservation and fulfill her desire to further preserve Lamentation Mountain for generations to come – a fitting tribute to a life well-lived.

The Berlin Land Trust needs you to make sure this project happens. To join us in this endeavor, email berlinlandtrustct@gmail.com or call 860-828-4393. 


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