Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 30: Inverness Glen Preserve

Forested parcel with winding brook at base of Prospect Ridge in southwest Cheshire. Adjacent to CLT's Russell Family Preserve and Naugatuck State Forest.

Size: 4.7 acres
Nearest Road: Inverness Court
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: December 2015
Donors: Whitney & Lori Watts, and Chris Baillie

The Cheshire Land Trust acquired the Inverness Glen Preserve in December 2015, thanks to the generosity of Whitney & Lori Watts and Chris Baillie.  As of November 2016, this 4.7-acre property is CLT's most recent acquisition.

In addition to its inherent values, Inverness Glen provides a direct connection to CLT's 40-acre Russell Family Preserve to the west.  The property is also adjacent to a portion of the Naugatuck State Forest to the southwest, and to residential lots along Inverness Court to the north and south.  It lies at the base of Prospect Ridge near the ridge's southern end.  This acquisition provides the potential for additional public access to the Quinnipiac Blue Trail, which runs along the ridge and through a portion of the Russell Family Preserve.

The CLT land has a narrow frontage along Inverness Court where an unnamed stream cuts through a small ravine and crosses under the road on its decent towards Willow Brook. 

The western portion of Inverness Glen slopes upwards, first gently, then more steeply where it joins the Russell Family Preserve. A portion contains sloped wetlands, and is somewhat rocky. The entire property is dominated by mixed hardwoods, especially oak, maple, tulip poplar, and ash. The wetland areas contain some spicebush; Christmas fern is scattered throughout the forest floor. Some of the oak and tulip poplars in the western portion of the parcel are rather large. Part of the property has evidence of a historic micro-burst or wind storm that blew down several mature trees, up-rooting them. The resulting deadwood, or “coarse woody debris” can be valuable for small mammal and amphibian habitat.

Inverness Glen's acquisition is another great example of co-operative efforts (in this case, adjacent parcels owned by the State and the CLT) to protect greenspaces and greenways in Cheshire.

The Inverness Glen Preserve is open to the public but there are not currently any formal walking trails - re-establishment of a trail is planned in the future.  Our current recommendation is to appreciate the property's aesthetic qualities while passing by on Inverness Court, and keeping an eye out for wildlife making use of this preserved land.  Look for a CLT boundary marker where the stream passes under the road through a large culvert.

More about the Inverness Glen Preserve and CLT's involvement in open space preservation efforts along Prospect Ridge are on the CLT website's Prospect Ridge Preservation page.
Do you live next to or near the Inverness Glen Preserve?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 29: Josephine's Woods Preserve

Forested wetland and surrounding uplands with rocky outcrops in northwestern Cheshire.

Size: 6 acres
Nearest Road: Waterbury Road
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: December 2014
Donors: Francis Roke, Jr.  & Diane M. Tansley

The Josephine's Woods Preserve (or "Josephine's Woods") was donated to the Cheshire Land Trust in December 2014.  The 6-acre property was donated by Francis Roke, Jr and his sister Diane M. Tansley in memory of their grandmother, who previously owned the land.

This donation marked CLT's first acquisition in the western portion of Cheshire near Waterbury and Wolcott.  The rugged upland property has frontage along Waterbury Rd. opposite Blackie's hot dog stand. It is surrounded by residential areas along Hall Drive and Edgecomb Road to the east and west, an by other woodlands to the south.

Josephine's Woods has wetlands covering about 40% of the acreage. The remainder of the property is forested with mixed hardwoods and is noteworthy for rocky outcrops along Edgecomb Rd.

The property has provided a habitat for wildlife of all sorts and has been undisturbed since it was acquired by the family in 1938.

In summarizing the donor’s intent, Mr. Roke said in a note to CLT: "This was my grandmother’s first piece of ownership in her newly adopted country and now we have come full circle with its return, by this donation, to the Cheshire Land Trust."

More information about this property is on the CLT website's Josephine's Woods page.

The Josephine's Woods Preserve is open to the public, but be forewarned that it contains some wet areas and rather dense vegetation throughout much of the acreage.  There are no marked trails.  Our recommendation is to appreciate its aesthetic qualities while passing by on Waterbury Road, and keeping an eye out for wildlife making use of this preserved land.
Do you live next to or near the Josephine's Woods Preserve?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 28: Leavenworth Tree Farm Easement

Conservation easement protecting a local Christmas tree farm property and associated woodlands in eastern Cheshire.

Size: 38 acres
Nearest Road: Coleman Road
Public Access: No
Acquisition: March 2003
Donor: The Knickerbocker, Leavenworth, and Palmer Families

The Leavenworth Tree Farm Easement (a.k.a. the Leavenworth, Palmer & Knickerbocker Family Conservation Restriction) is a conservation easement donated to the Cheshire Land Trust by the Leavenworth, Palmer, and Knickerbocker Families in March 2003.  As of 2016, this is CLT's largest single easement gift, and the most recent.  

The Leavenworth Tree Farm property is bordered to the east by Coleman Road, to the north by lots along Ashley Court, and to the west by residential properties on Radmere Road.

The property consists of gently sloping undeveloped open space land, primarily forest and fields associated with the Leavenworth Christmas Tree Farm. The property has been owned by the Leavenworth family since 1952.

The Leavenworth & Knickerbocker families determined that a Conservation Restriction on the property will promote its charitable purposes of protecting areas of rural, scenic, agricultural,watershed, and natural resource value in their hometown of Cheshire.

The agreement with the CLT ensures that their farm property may be used now and in the future for agricultural, passive recreational, horticultural, animal husbandry, equestrian, forestry, and related purposes, with no residential development on the property now or in the future.  
38 acres of the 42 acre farm are protected by the easement.

Sue Knickerbocker provided this perspective on the donation and some background on the farm's history...

"My father graduated from Yale School of Forestry before joining the army (WWII). When he came home from the war he wanted to find a peaceful spot to live and in 1952 he found this farm for sale in Cheshire. My mother attended Yale Art School and had grown up in older homes and had a deep interest in the architecture of the farm buildings. She was also a bird lover and conservationist and they both found this farm as a place to fulfill their dreams."

Much more about the Leavenworth Tree Farm Easement, including a detailed history of the Leavenworth Family's history on the land, is at the CLT website's Leavenworth Tree Farm page.

For the last 65 years this beautiful property has remained mostly unchanged. It is a defining piece of Cheshire's remaining rural and farming heritage.

The Leavenworth Tree Farm property is private land with a a conservation easement in favor of CLT. There is no public access unless posted by the owners for the seasonal sale of their Christmas trees.
Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 27: Anderson Easement

Conservation easement protecting in-town woodland near West Main Street.

Size: 4.73 acres
Nearest Road: West Main Street
Public Access: No
Acquisition: December 2009
Donors: Eric Anderson &
Brenda Anderson-Killer

The Anderson Easement was donated to the Cheshire Land Trust by Brenda Anderson-Killer and her son Eric Anderson at the end of 2009.  At the time, it was CLT’s first new acquisition in about three years.  
The easement boundaries lie between West Main Street, Warren Street, and Kristen Court; there is no direct road frontage, as the Anderson's own additional land which includes a house.  Together, the Anderson Easement and the Willow Brook Preserve (Day #6) create open space "bookends" for the West Main Street Commercial District, with the Farmington Canal Linear Trail running through its center.

Under the terms of the easement, a permanent deed restriction, the donors and the Land Trust agreed that this 4.73-acre woodland, just off West Main Street, will remain undeveloped. Mr. Anderson and his mother Brenda Anderson-Killer, were the joint donors of the easement, preserving the natural resources, while giving up the right to build on the land.

Additional conservation values cited in the easement include:
  1. Provision of food and shelter for birds and animals,
  2. Prevention of erosion,
  3. Protection of air quality, and 
  4. Protection of water quality in the Willow Brook watershed.

The landowner(s) may enjoy passive recreation – walking, bird watching, and berry-picking on this property just as the Anderson family has for many years.

This is one of several conservation easements held by CLT.  Like most of these easements, the Anderson Easement is not open to the public.  All of the Cheshire Land Trust's easements are listed on the CLT website Properties page.

Do you live next to or near the Anderson Easement?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 26: Carroll Woods Preserve

Wooded acreage containing a portion of Mountain Brook in southwest Cheshire; adjacent to Brooksvale Farm Preserve Easement.

Size: 4.5 acres
Nearest Road: South Brooksvale Road
Public Access: No
Acquisition: December 2005
Donor: Don Drago

The Carroll Woods Preserve was donated to the Cheshire Land Trust by Don Drago in December 2005.  The Brooke Memorial Acquisition (Day #23) was completed the same month, making 2005 a very good year for CLT!

The property lies to the northeast of the the CLT's Brooksvale Farm Preserve Easement.  It is surrounded on other sides by residential properties along South Brooksvale Road (to the west) and Cranberry Lane (to the north and east).  Carroll Woods' boundaries also contain a 50-foot-wide strip that runs to South Brooksvale Road.

The property is covered with mostly hardwood tree species and also contains a portion of Mountain Brook.  This is the same brook that flows through CLT's Charmichael Sanctuary (Day #9) further upstream.  After passing through Carroll Woods, Mountain Brooks meets up with Willow Brook along the Farmington Canal Linear Trail.

The Carroll Woods Preserve provides excellent woodland habitat adjacent to the Brooksvale Farm's open fields.  CLT's ownership also ensures protection for a portion of Mountain Brook.  This CLT preserve is not open to the public.
Do you live next to or near the Carroll Woods Preserve?  Have you ever passed it on the Linear Trail?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day 25: Ives Farm

Iconic Cheshire farm in northeast Cheshire with extensive woodlands and Quinnipiac River frontage.  CLT's largest single acquisition.

Size: 164 acres
Nearest Road: Cheshire Street
Public Access: Yes/No (see below)
Acquisition: August 2006
Donor: Elizabeth Ives

The Cheshire Land Trust acquired Ives Farm in August 2006. The historic farm is the bequest of Betty Ives, the beloved and dedicated farmer who by sheer force of will began her farming career upon the death of her husband Eddie Ives in 1967.
Ives Farm is the first farm the trust has owned and operated as working farm. Over the past several years CLT has been following a farm management plan to meet the needs of the community and to fulfill the vision of Betty Ives.  The farm operation is currently run by T&D Growers. 
While Ives Farm is best known for its rich fields visible from Cheshire Street, the property contains an 80-acre woodland that includes several forest types, wetlands, and a powerline corridor. This woodland contains a rich diversity of plant and animal habitats. Betty Ives' will stipulated that this woodland must be maintained and managed "in accordance with good forestry practices."
Cheshire Street runs north-south between the two halves of the Ives Farm property. Several residential streets ring the south and eastern sides. CLT's Pelz Farm borders Ives Farm to the northwest, and the Quinnipiac River runs along Ives Farm's western boundary. With the addition of Ives Farm, CLT became the largest private owner of riverfront along the Quinnipiac River in Cheshire.
Hiking trails in the Ives Woodlands pass through mature stands of oak, mixed hardwoods, and one of the largest stands of old field cedars in Cheshire. While the farmed portion of the property has remained largely unchanged over the past 100 years, the woodlands have slowly converted from pastureland to mature forest. A detailed hiking trail map is on the CLT website. The trails are closed Monday-Friday each November and December for wildlife management purposes.
The Ives Farm farmstand and trails are open to the public. The remainder of the property is not. The farmstand and Cheshire Street trail entrance is across from 1585 Cheshire Street. An additional trail entrance is at the end of Northpond Road.
Much more about the CLT's Ives Farm, and numerous photos, are on the CLT website's Ives Farm page.  CLT has also produced a short video with aerial views of the farm.

Do you live next to or near Ives Farm?  Tell us about what you've seen on this land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.  

Day 24: Thanksgiving Day

November 24, 2016 is Thanksgiving Day.

It's a day of thanks, and a day of rest for CLT's 30 Properties in 30 Days.