ASPETUCK LAND TRUST :
Is the Appalachian Trail coming to Weston? In the meantime...FOR THE BIRDS.
N E W S
Standing Room Only ALT Open House
Weston Library, April 25, 2018
Decision-makers in the room
After introduction us to new purchase - breakout groups
At the Selectmen: Leash Law PUBLIC HEARING, May 7, 2015; Exec. Director Brant, left.
Not pictured above, but he was there! Aspectuck Land Trust Ranger hired: http://www.thewestonforum.com/47820/land-trust-hires-james-wood-as-first-nature-preserve-ranger/
ALT art show at Weston Library
Living With Coyotes Talk by Wildlife Biologist Set For Sunday April 26, 2015 at Weston Public Library
Coyotes and how to live with them will
be the focus of a talk by Connecticut Department of Energy and
Environmental Protection wildlife biologist Chris Vann set for Sunday
April 26, 2015 from 2-3 pm in the Weston Public Library. Vann's talk is
sponsored by Aspetuck Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Town of
Since they were first documented in Connecticut in the 1950s, coyotes
have expanded their range and are now common throughout the state,
according to Vann. They are opportunistic and live in a variety of
habitats including wooded suburbs, parks, beach fronts and office parks,
"Their ability to survive and take advantage of food sources found in
and around man-made habitats has resulted in an increase in coyote
sightings and related conflicts," according to Vann...
NEWS - NEW FOR THE VERTICALLY CHALLENGED...A.L.T. EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR'S ASSISTANT BELOW...
"Berkshire Landscape" at right...from another person's photograph, NFS.
AUDUBON STUDY COMPLETED: http://www.aspetucklandtrust.org/
Loss of meadow habitat bad news for birds
John Burgeson, CTPOST
Published 12:12 am, Saturday, August 2, 2014
The open spaces that humans think are wonderful places for wildlife are, more often than not, better suited to people.
The Connecticut Audubon Society, in its State of the Birds 2014 report,
issued a scathing assessment of how open spaces are managed in
Connecticut, noting that the population numbers of some bird species are
in a tailspin because their traditional habitats have all but
disappeared. The report also notes there's no accurate count as to how
much bona fide open space really exists in the state.
The reasons for the loss of the meadow environment are many, but the
fact that birds aren't allowed to vote is part of it, according to
Stephen B. Oresman, chairman emeritus of the Connecticut Audubon
Society. Oresman, who wrote the opening essay in the report, notes that
support in the state Legislature is scant for preserving habitats that
humans don't find attractive or valuable, such as scrubland and meadows.
He also said that "open space" and "wildlife habitat" are not always the same...story in full at CT POST.
Former dairy farm provides space for off-leash dog walking, temporarily
banned at Trout Brook, while study is ongoing.
IN EASTON, NOT IN WESTON,
CONNECTICUT - BUT OPEN TO WESTONITES AND THEIR DOGS OFF-LEASH
Easton dairy farm serves new function
Peter Kirby, CT POST
Published 01:00 a.m., Monday, June 11, 2012
One of the town's last two working dairy farms is now serving a new
function: open space.
Randall's Farm Nature Preserve, a 34-acre expanse of meadows, wetlands
and forests that is managed by local conservation group Aspetuck Land
Trust, is now open to the public and features a number of trails for
hiking, dog walking and other outdoor activities...story in full at CT POST.
A Yearning for Dogs to Roam Free
By LISA W. FODERARO, NYTIMES
February 10, 2012
AT the Trout Brook Valley nature preserve in this picturesque corner of
the state, all appears calm. An unseasonably mild breeze rustles the
bare trees, while a red-tail hawk glides high above. A stream of dog
walkers comes and goes, nodding to ruddy-faced hikers and the
occasional rider on horseback.
But beneath the genteel veneer is a pitched battle over that
all-important pet accessory, the leash, and, specifically, whether dogs
here need to be on one.
In October, the Aspetuck Land Trust, which manages the preserve, placed
a moratorium on walking dogs off leash on the property as the group
undertook a year-long wildlife study. The move touched off a sometimes
snarling debate among members of the trust and visitors to the
preserve, with off-leash advocates lobbying to get the privilege back
and opponents pressing to keep dogs tethered.
“Emotions are high,” said David Brant, executive director of the trust,
whose 20-member board includes Melissa Newman, the actor Paul Newman’s
daughter. “We recognize that passions exist on both sides, and we have
tried to take a balanced and thoughtful approach.”
The leash quandary is not unique to Trout Brook Valley. Across the
region, land trusts, town recreation departments and city parks
agencies have struggled with the question, weighing liability and
wildlife protection against forceful advocacy of many dog owners...story in full at the NYTIMES.
Letter: Trout Brook leashes
Published 10:25 a.m., Friday, December
Michael White raised some very good points in his Dec. 2 letter
regarding the Aspetuck Land Trust's new dog policy [Trout Brook Valley
should stay leash free"]. I would like to respond.
Through our participation in the Fairfield County Regional Conservation
Partnership, we have learned about the importance of a bigger-picture
approach in how we manage our lands. For example, Trout Brook Valley is
part of the Centennial forest chain and offers 10 square miles of
contiguous forested lands for wildlife to traverse.
It is important to understand that because of the size of the Trout
Brook Valley conservation area (1,009 acres) and the fact that it is
part of a much larger open space area, including one of the last great
open fields in the Northeast coast in the orchard which provides
important hawk habitat, we have an obligation to manage this preserve
Our smaller preserves do provide habitat for animals and insects, but
when it comes to conservation, size matters. Trout Brook Valley is big
and it provides important habitat for wildlife because of its large
size. Therefore, in the fall of 2010, we applied for a grant to
implement a flora and fauna assessment of TBV. The grant to do this
assessment was received in August 2011 and was immediately put into
action. In order to accurately do this assessment, the only animals
that may traverse this land off trail are the animals who are dependent
upon this area for their lives.
It is important to note that we don't ban dogs on most of our
preserves, and in fact, we allow dogs "off leash" on the vast majority
of our nature preserves, which is very uncommon among Land Trusts and
conservation groups. After the survey in Trout Brook Valley is
conducted, we hope to allow dogs back off leash in those areas that are
less ecologically sensitive.
But first we need to conduct the wildlife study to determine just where
the sensitive and less sensitive areas exist. We are not angling to
permanently restrict dogs to leashes under the guise of the study.
Doing the study is simply good practice on behalf of our organization.
So, for this upcoming year and until the study is completed, you cannot
walk your dog off leash in Trout Brook Valley.
Mr. White, being in the field of science, I think you can appreciate
all of the efforts being put forth so that this incredibly lovely and
richly diverse preserve will be cared for intelligently in order to
insure it will be around for many, many years to come. Now that you
have an accurate picture of the sequence of events, I hope you
understand that we are caring for the land in the best possible way.
Aspetuck Land Trust is a non-profit membership organization established
in 1966 with over 1,000 local members. For more information, visit
Lisa Brodlie, Chairwoman
Aspetuck Land Trust
Land Management Committee
It never gets old - TROUT BROOK VALLEY
IS A MUST-WALK IN SUMMER!!! Numero uno walk, in my
Trouble at Trout Brook: What to
when dogs, bikes and nature collide
Written by David Brant, Aspetuck Land Trust
Monday, 14 June 2010 00:00
Trout Brook Valley provides its visitors with tranquil vistas,
challenging trails, seasonal beauty and abundant nature experiences.
The Aspetuck Land Trust, which owns and manages Trout Brook Valley, has
welcomed dogs and mountain bikers and the general public — whether
members or not — into this open space preserve since its acquisition
more than 10 years ago...story in full at the FORUM.
Saugatuck River becomes more fish-friendly, one dam at a time
By John Burgeson, STAFF WRITER
Updated: 12/23/2009 07:42:58 PM EST
Just about every American has seen film clips of salmon leaping over
impossibly tall waterfalls.
But not all species of fish are as athletic as salmon. Most, in fact,
can't negotiate a knee-high dam.
This is a problem for fish trying to swim up the Saugatuck River, which
flows from Ridgefield to Westport's shoreline. Sally Harold, director
of the Nature Conservancy's Saugatuck River Watershed Project, said the
river has several major dams, most of them dating back to Colonial
times, and each makes life difficult for the blueback herring and
alewife heading upstream to spawn.
There are more than 100 small dams in the entire Saugatuck watershed,
which has more than 200 miles of tributaries that cover 56,000 acres in
11 communities in southwestern Connecticut.
"The colonists were particularly active in this watershed, building
dams," Harold said. "This was a problem, because the fish that frequent
this river aren't particularly big jumpers."
Ideally, she said, the dams should be removed, but property owners
along the river view them as historic, even though they degrade the
habitat. For example, she said, they boost water temperatures, making
the Saugatuck less attractive to fish...story in full at the CT POST.
DEP to host forum on 5-year plan for forests
published Apr 18, 2010
state Department of Environmental Protection will host a forum on
Wednesday, April 28, to discuss ideas and recommendations for the
five-year Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy being prepared for
The forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at DEP
headquarters at 79 Elm St., Hartford. The basis for
the forum will be the results of a series of roundtable discussions in
February and March.
The forest assessment is being done because a 2008 federal
farm bill requires each state to complete this work to receive U.S.
Forest Service funds.
A report on the roundtable discussions can be found at www.ct.gov/dep/forestry.
People can speak during the forum, or submit written
comments by May 15 to the Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Forestry; 79 Elm St., Hartford CT 06106. Comments can also
be submitted to email@example.com.
Connecticut forest-land forum looks at
state's wooded assets: Diverse ownership, varied uses make
quantifying a challenge
By Judy Benson
Published 11/26/2009 12:00 AM
Updated 11/26/2009 02:10 AM
Storrs - With woodlands covering nearly 60 percent of this relatively
small state, Connecticut's forest resources are a vital part of the
state's economic, environmental, cultural and aesthetic resources.
But quantifying those assets, while potentially tricky, will provide
forest landowners, policymakers and state and local decision-makers
with an important tool that will help keep the state's forests as
forests. The task is made more complex by the fact that 80 percent of
the state's forest land is privately owned, divided among as many as
100,000 individuals and private institutions such as Yale University
and water companies.
Those messages, and current efforts under way to inventory and value
the state's forestland, were the main themes of a daylong forum at the
University of Connecticut Tuesday. Titled, "Connecticut Forests in a
Changing World - From Global to Local," the conference was sponsored by
the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut
Forest & Park Association and the UConn Cooperative Extension
System and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources...story in full at the New London DAY.
did they miss Trout Brook? On
my list, it is numero uno (see photos above...)
The top five hikes in Fairfield County
By Thomas Ebersold
Posted: 07/17/2009 10:10:05 AM EDT
Updated: 07/17/2009 10:33:37 AM EDT
Best of lists are always subjective and this list is no exception, but
any of these hikes is sure to please an outdoors enthusiast.
Listed in alphabetical order, the top five best hikes in Fairfield
County are: Lillinonah Trail, Newtown; Pequonnock River Valley,
Trail, Weston/Redding; Tarrywile Park, Danbury; and Webb Mountain
Before heading out on your journey, remember that a key to enjoying any
hike is proper preparation. When going on any hike, be sure to have a
map of the area and know how to read it. Waterproof boots are also
recommended because most hiking areas have wet and muddy sections, and
wear wool or synthetic socks to reduce the likelihood of blisters.
Don't forget to carry enough water and food to last for the duration of
the hike, and take appropriate protection against ticks that may carry
Lyme disease...read more about the Saugatuck Trails system here...
Weston preserve offers honey
of a hike
Gargan, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 08/21/2008
01:00:00 AM EDT
Editor's note: This is the latest in an occasional series on area
Just two miles from Cannondale train station, on the northern part of
an egg-shaped hill, lies Honey Hill Preserve, a 38-acre open space park
that supports an array of diverse plant life within a relatively small
area. Owned by the Aspetuck Land Trust, the preserve features three
interconnecting loop trails with plants ranging from white pine to
several distinct species of fern.
Parking is scarce at the preserve entrance on Wampum Hill Road (just
two narrow spaces). If the spots are taken, park along Honey Hill Road
or the cul-de-sac at the end of Mayapple Road and head north to the
preserve entrance (found just over the Wilton border in Weston).
Walk along the shaded pathway that leads into the park and bear right
on the white trail (designated by a white arrow). Follow the path north
to the center of the park and pass the entrance to the salmon-colored
trail. On the left is a majestic white pine forest - its uniformity and
patterned structure offer a striking contrast to the diversity and
sporadic arrangement of the park's majority hardwoods...story in full at the Greenwich TIME.
For more information, visit