Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 14: Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife sanctuary in meadow and forested setting.  Managed system of trails throughout for recreation and observation.
CLT's Fresh Meadows, and adjacent Elim Park property
with trails maintained by CLT.  Trails are shown in red.

Size: 32.8 acres
Nearest Road: Cook Hill Road
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: June 1985
Donor: Cheshire Neighborhood Association

The Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, or "Fresh Meadows", is one of CLT's marquee properties.  It is located in southeast Cheshire, on the north side of Cook Hill Road, just east of Elim Park and the Mill River.

Development can often come at a price. For Edward Tufte and other concerned citizens living around a proposed subdivision, the land's development was too high a price, and so began their efforts to organize and raise money to purchase the property and donate it to the Cheshire Land Trust. The Cheshire Neighborhood Association, a group of 8 neighbors, donated the 32.8 property to CLT in June 1985.

Fresh Meadows is an important natural area in the Mill River Watershed. Its meadows and emergent forests are really two properties. CLT owns 32.8 acres adjoining 10 acres owned by Elim Park that CLT manages. Fresh Meadows offers a well defined network of trails for easy walking in a natural setting making this open space an ideal place for all age groups. The diverse property includes mowed meadow, a forested ridge, Mill River frontage, seasonal wetlands, and a peat bog (former farm pond). 

"Fresh Meadows" was a name given much of south Cheshire by early settlers who farmed the low-lying, sparsely forested land along the Mill River. A tribute to an earlier respect for the land, Fresh Meadows is one of the Land Trust's most visible and accessible properties. CLT has worked vigorously to maintain trails and managed areas, permitting public access while protecting the plants and animals that live there. Among other animals, the property is wildly popular for birding.  It's also an excellent place to see a progression of wildflowers over the course of the growing season.

Fresh Meadows is open to the public, and has several blazed walking/hiking trails.  A small parking area and information kiosk are along Cook Hill Road, just at the base of the hill when travelling east from South Main Street.  When visiting, PLEASE stay on the marked trails and respect the privacy of our good neighbors! 

If you ever have 20 minutes to spare, the Fresh Meadows trails provide a great mini-escape into nature, not far from the busiest parts of town.  Much more about the property is on CLT's Fresh Meadows webpage.

Do you live next to or near the Fresh Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary?  Have you ever hiked the Fresh Meadows trails?  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.

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