Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day 8: Mortensen Sanctuary

Nature preserve along the Quinnipiac River, a conservation easement on property owned by the Quinnipiac Valley Audubon Society.

Size: 8.4 acres
Nearest Road: Cheshire Street
Public Access: Yes
Acquisition: October 1973
Donor: Esther Mortensen

The Cheshire Land Trust does not own all of the lands it preserves.  Some properties are protected through "conservation easements", also known as "conservation restrictions".  This arrangement allows a landowner to continue owning their property, but gives another entity (such as the Cheshire Land Trust) certain rights such as the ability to have a hiking trail or control over the land's development.  A conservation easement is commonly intended to ensure that a property will be protected in some form of a natural or agricultural condition.  If and when the owner sells the land, the easement "runs with the land" and the new owner must recognize it.
In 1973, Esther Mortensen donated such a conservation easement to the CLT, covering 8.4 acres of her property along Cheshire Street, adjacent to the Quinnipiac River.
Sixteen years later, in 1989, Mortensen's entire  23.4-acre property was deeded to the Quinnipiac Valley Audubon Society, who now operates it as Riverbound Farm.  So in effect, portions of the property are double-protected - by the Cheshire Land Trust and the QVAS.  According to the QVAS Facebook page, “Riverbound Farm is 23.4 acres of diverse habitat preserved permanently as open space. There is also a nature center in the house (built in 1814). Well maintained trails traverse the property, including a long stretch right along the Quinnipiac River.”
Old CLT sketch of Mortensen Easement
Notes from the CLT archives:
"This is river bottomland adjoining the Quinnipiac River.  It is flat immediately adjacent to the river but slopes gradually upward to the east.  The vegetation is a dense stand of hardwood trees and shrubs...  The area includes the bank of the river, and is also a home for numerous birds and small animals."
CLT is happy to have collaborated with our good friends at QVAS for several events over the years, and looks forward to cooperatively protecting a portion of Riverbound Farm for years to come!
Riverbound Farm, which includes CLT’s Mortensen Sanctuary, is on the west side of Cheshire Street, just north of West Johnson Avenue.  There is a small parking area and trailhead sign right off the road.  QVAS maintains well marked and clear trails through the property.
See the Quinnipiac Valley Audubon Society' Facebook page for more info about QVAS and their activities.

Do you live near CLT's Mortensen Sanctuary and QVAS's Riverbound Farm?  Tell us about what you’ve seen on the land!  Please join the Cheshire Land Trust at www.cheshirelandtrust.org to help us protect and maintain this and other great open space properties around Cheshire.

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