Monday, October 31, 2016

Day 1: Russell Family Memorial Preserve

A nature preserve for scientific, educational, and aesthetic purposes, adjoining the Mount Sanford Block of the Naugatuck State Forest along Prospect Ridge in southwest Cheshire. CLT's first property.

View into the Russell Preserve, December 2015
Size: 40 acres
Nearest Road: Inverness Court
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: December 1970
Donor: Helen F. Russell

The Cheshire Land Trust's first acquisition was a gift of Helen F. Russell: 40 acres of mountainous forested property bequeathed to the CLT near the end of 1970, a little over one year after CLT was organized. The property was first offered to the town in the 1950s, but the offer was declined.

Portion of the Russell Preserve deed - CLT's first!
This entirely wooded property contains steep terrain that makes up a portion of Prospect Ridge. It is bordered to the south by the Naugatuck State Forest, to the southeast by CLT's Inverness Glen property, and to the west by the Cheshire-Prospect town line. The property's rocky terrain is covered by second and third-growth hardwood forest, with many mature oaks, hickories, birches, and maples. Several timber harvests have been conducted on this land, the most recent in the late 1970s.  A few areas of mountain laurel are scattered about, but the understory is largely open.

The Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s Quinnipiac Blue Trail passes through the western portion of the Russell property, providing access from both Route 42 to the south, and Roaring Brook Falls from the north.  The trail offers great views across Cheshire, especially when leaves are off the trees.  The land drops steeply to the east not far from the trail.

To visit the Russell Family Memorial Preserve, park at the Naugatuck State Forest parking area along Route 42 (Bethany Mountain Road) and hike north along the blue-blazed trail for about 1/2 mile. Look for the CLT’s green diamond boundary signs (about a 20 minute walk at a moderate/brisk pace.)

Do you live next to or near the Russell Family Memorial Preserve? Tell us about what you’ve seen on this land by commenting here or on CLT's Facebook page, or emailing to

Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.