January 8, 2020

Senator Haskell Cheers Announcement of $9.1 Million for Land Conservation, Including $1.9 Million for Weston and Wilton Projects

State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) today cheered the announcement by Governor Ned Lamont that $9.1 million in state grants will protect more than 2,400 acres of land for public use through the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program. Of that $9.1 million, more than $1.9 million is earmarked for three projects in Weston and Wilton that aim to protect 173.42 acres of land in those towns. This announcement is the culmination of tireless work by towns and organizations for the preservation and protection of open space and watershed land, helping to keep Connecticut’s natural beauty safe for generations to come.

“Open space keeps our community beautiful and preserves our natural resources for the next generation to enjoy. We are fortunate to have so many volunteer and activists working to protect open space, and I’ve heard from many of them over the last year,” said Sen. Haskell. “That’s why I advocated this past year for OSWLA support. I want to thank the Governor and his staff for their support of Connecticut’s natural beauty and I would like to thank The Nature Conservancy, the Aspetuck Land Trust and the Wilton Land Conservation Trust for their hard work and efforts to protect our local environments.”

Three projects in the 26th Senate District received grant funding. They include:

  • Project sponsor The Nature Conservancy will receive $602,000 to support the purchase of 74.16 acres of forest directly adjacent to Devil’s Den Preserve. This purchase of what is known as Weston Farms is part of 15,300 acres of forestland with high conservation value. The forest lies within the watershed of the Saugatuck River and a hiking trail will connect it to the 20-mile Devil’s Den loop trail.
  • The project sponsor Aspetuck Land Trust will receive $625,000 for the 85.86-acre “Fromson-Strassler Acquisition.” Adjacent to the Land Trust’s existing 118-acre Honey Hill Preserve, the land is part of a forest block assemblage of more than 350 acres. The land features 22 acres of wetlands that form the headwaters of the Saugatuck River, with wildlife including eels, fish, amphibians and migratory birds. A trail head and parking area will link the land to regional trails.
  • The project sponsor Wilton Land Conservation Trust will receive $707,000 for the purchase of 13.4 acres at 183 Ridgefield Road. The 13 acres of open field habitat is about a mile from the town’s center, with 12 acres of farmland soils and two acres of forested wetlands. The WLCT plans to create a trail accessible for people with mobility challenges and a wheelchair-accessible gravel parking area, as well as educational opportunities for local school groups including kiosks providing information about the state’s agricultural history.