WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Land Trust has added a pivotal piece of open space to its inventory assuring a popular hiking trail will remain open.
The land trust recently purchased 14 acres on Beseck Mountain that includes a portion of the Mattabesett Trail. The trust paid $15,000 for the land out of its reserves.
"We are very glad we were able to get it and we hope everybody goes out and enjoys it," said Dave Ellis, a land trust board member. "It was a high priority piece and when it was known it was going on the market, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association contacted us."
The association identifies properties that if sold to private owners create a risk of closing the trail, Ellis said. "This one going on the market put the trail closure at risk, and we got in touch with the owners who were selling it and we were able to come to terms. It was very important because it is a high priority trail."
Land trust property is open to the public for passive recreation.
"We allow the public to access all our properties. Many of them have hiking trails," Ellis said.‘Particularly valuable’
The Mattabesett Trail is part of the New England National Scenic Trail, a 215-mile hiking trail route designated under federal law in 2009 but in existence for over half a century, according to the National Park Service. The national scenic trail travels through 41 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is comprised primarily of the historic Mattabesett, Metacomet, and Monadnock (M-M-M) Trail systems.
"This one is particularly valuable because the New England Trail and the Mattabesset Trail goes over the property,” Ellis said. It was definitely a very desirable piece to want to maintain. We want to keep open the Blue Blaze hiking trails that are maintained by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association."
The Mattabesset Trail runs along the Wallingford-Durham-Middlefield line on the eastern side of Wallingford, Ellis said.View looking west
"There's a bit of a view on the property. It's the first place where there's really a view," Ellis said. "Now there are views because the leaves are down, but this is the first really good view on the trail when the leaves are on the trees looking west over Wallingford and the reservoirs."
"The Wallingford Land Trust has stepped up to protect hiking and open space on beautiful Beseck Mountain," said Claire Cain, trail director for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association.