State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) along with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced state grants of: $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of open space in Lyme, $162,500 to preserve 40.76 acres of land on 106 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme and $650,000 to preserve 186 acres of Horse Hill Woods – Phase II in Westbrook. The collective grants will help preserve over 405 acres of open space.
Open Space projects are a continuation of the supportive roles that these Towns and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat.
Sheldon Creek River Access in Lyme will receive $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of land. Currently, the property is maintained as a meadow with 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River. This parcel is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance,” with public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.
The 106 Four Mile River Road property in Old Lyme boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and public access which will seek to be added to a open space parcels totaling 147 acres. The $162,500 grant will protect the property, which is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.
Additionally, the state also awarded a $650,000 grant to the town of Westbrook, aimed at protecting Horse Hill Woods – Phase II, which consists of two separately owned – but abutting – parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties.
Giuliano lobbied to secure the purchase of “The Preserve” – a 1,000 acre coastal-forest area that the state is seeking to purchase along with the Town of Old Saybrook and surrounding towns. The $471,250 award to the Essex Land Trust supports that organization’s plans to purchase a 70.6-acre section of “The Preserve”.
“An investment in preserving open space in Connecticut is one which will surely pay off. These grants will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats our district is known for. Through these grants, we will ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy the abundant natural beauty,” said Giuliano.
Aiming to preserve 673, 210 acres of undeveloped Connecticut land by 2023, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed the Open Space program. To date, the state has reached nearly 74 percent of its goal, preserving an impressive 496, 182 acres.
Join retired State Geologist Ralph Lewis, on a sunset cruise from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 26, on the RiverQuest, a stable, 54-foot excursion boat with excellent viewing, enclosed cabin, and restroom. The cruise departs from Eagle Landing State Park, Rte. 82, Haddam at 3:30 p.m. The tour will examine the geological features and processes that created this beautiful river valley.
Wine and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres will be provided. The price is $40 for members of the Lyme Public Hall Association, $45 for non-members. Reservations and prepayment are required.
Proceeds support the Hall’s programs.
For more information go to the Lyme Public Hall website at www.lymepublichall.org
The Lyme Public Hall Association is dedicated to the appreciation of Lyme’s history, culture, and community through the preservation and use of the historic hall, its archives and historical programs.
Potapaug Audubon is hosting a Fall Foliage Boat Cruise on the Connecticut River aboard RiverQuest on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 1:30 p.m..
The cost is $20 per person.
The cruise will depart from Connecticut River Expeditions, Eagle Landing State Park, 1 Marine Park, Route 82, Haddam, CT.
Call to register at 860-767-9763.
Old Lyme voters will be asked at a Special Town Meeting to be held this evening Monday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium to consider a request from the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Committee to approve additional expenditure for the renovation of the boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake. The amount being requested from town funds is detailed in the meeting agenda as “not to exceed $405,000.”
In July 2013, Old Lyme was awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for $478,000 to expand and renovate the boathouse at Hains Park on Rogers Lake. The proposed renovations would make the boathouse ADA accessible with bathrooms, showers and a workout room, and provide a space to properly maintain and repair equipment. Renovation of the basketball court and repairs to the docks were also included in the original project scope.
At the Sept. 16 Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s meeting, representatives from the Boathouse/Hain’s Park Improvement Committee reported that the estimated costs for the new boathouse, including some site work and renovation to the basketball court, had been revised upwards to $883,000, leaving a shortfall of $405,000 against the original STEAP grant of $478,000.
The revised project includes new bathrooms, which would be accessible to the public, but it is unclear whether the revised scope includes repairs to the docks, which are presently considered unsafe. At the meeting, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder expressed concern about the safety of the docks and requested that remediation of the docks should be included in the project. She also stressed that one of the conditions of the STEAP grant is that use of the boathouse building should be made available to the public.
At a previous meeting, Reemsnyder noted she had received criticism earlier in the year that this grant was being used for a project that did not directly benefit a larger segment of the population. Reemsnyder had also previously suggested that Old Lyme residents should be allowed to store kayaks and similar equipment at the facility, but this does not appear to be part of the current vision for the boathouse.
The 410+ mile long Connecticut River and nearby rivers and streams are cleaner of trash thanks to thousands of hard working volunteers. On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26 and 27, volunteers from businesses, faith communities, watershed groups, schools, community and youth organizations grabbed trash bags and work gloves for the 18th annual Source to Sea Cleanup, organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC). The Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day collaborative trash clean-up event in all four states of the Connecticut River basin (NH, VT, MA, CT).
“While removing trash is important, the Source to Sea Cleanup is about more than that,” says Jacqueline Talbot, CRWC’s Cleanup Coordinator. “The Cleanup is about strengthening community and allowing people to take meaningful action to improve their neighborhoods. When people help clean their rivers, they make connections with each other and their rivers. Those connections have benefits lasting well beyond the Cleanup.”
Final numbers are still being tallied, but it’s estimated that 2,000-2,300 volunteers participated in this year’s Source to Sea Cleanup, cleaning rivers from near the Canadian border down to the mouth of the Connecticut River in Old Lyme, CT. On average, 50 tons of trash is removed from in and near our rivers every year.
At Sumner Falls on the Connecticut River in NH and VT, volunteers from Hypertherm and King Arthur Flour hauled dozens of tires from the river, including one 8’ tall tractor tire that required an hour of work to get ashore.
In Deerfield and Holyoke, MA and in Wethersfield, CT the US Fish & Wildlife Service used an airboat, a landing craft, a john boat, and their research boat along with the elbow grease of eight employees to help get at debris along sites only accessible by boat. This work helped remove over 50 tires, a washing machine, shopping carts, and thousands of single-use beverage containers from high quality habitat areas including around an active eagle’s nest.
At the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club in Springfield, MA volunteers from Covanta Energy, United Water, local boy scouts, and community members filled a dumpster in just a few hours. They found and cleaned up a plastic bottle dump that included hundreds of non-redeemable, single-use plastic bottles.
At this year’s southernmost cleanup in Old Lyme, CT, DEEP Marine Fisheries, the Coast Guard Auxiliary 25-05 and community volunteers in waders spanned the marshes near the river’s mouth. They removed trash that is washed down from the 400+ miles above them, including dozens of plastic bottles, hundreds of Styrofoam pieces, televisions and tires. “From the water the marshes can look deceptively clean” says Talbot. “When you get an up-close look at this last stop before Long Island Sound, you see we are locally addressing a problem with regional and global implications.”
This year, CRWC is also using the Source to Sea Cleanup to support solutions to river waste. “Each year we find thousands of single-use bottles and hundreds of tires in and near our rivers,” notes Talbot. “Eventually, this trash becomes part of the large ocean garbage patches that harm wildlife. We will use the data collected during the Source to Sea Cleanup to help inform policies and practices that will get bottle and tire waste out of our rivers,” continues Talbot. “Healthy rivers are so important because they contribute so much, both to our economies and the beauty and enjoyment of our communities.”
Initiatives such as increasing access and ease of curb side recycling, expanding existing recycling efforts to process all varieties of materials, and extending the responsibility of recycling to manufacturers are essential to the success of zero waste programs. Given what’s found in our rivers every year, CRWC would like to see existing bottle bills be expanded to include all single-use beverage containers, banning or establishing pay-per-use plastic bags, and legislation allowing for free tire disposal. “We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” says Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director. “Lead sponsors NRG Middletown and TransCanada’s financial support enables us to continue growing the Source to Sea Cleanup so that it has an impact beyond the two days of cleanup.”
The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) will use their 18th Annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Friday anS saturday, Sept. 26 and 27, as a way to push for solutions to river waste. The Cleanup supports policies and legislation that help keep waste from ending up in local rivers and streams. The Council also supports a new vision of zero waste for the Connecticut River and its tributaries.
Zero waste is a goal of a future free from waste. It is a concept being adopted by cities around the world, including Middletown, Conn., right on the Connecticut River. Zero waste aims for all discarded materials to become resources for another use. A zero waste community encourages individuals, businesses, and government agencies to take concrete steps towards rethinking how they treat their trash. “We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” says Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director.
Initiatives such as increasing access and ease of curb side recycling, expanding existing recycling efforts to process all varieties of materials, and extending the responsibility of recycling to manufacturers are essential to the success of zero waste programs. Given what’s found in our rivers every year, CRWC would like to see existing bottle bills be expanded to include all single-use beverage containers, banning or establishing pay-per-use of plastic bags, and legislation allowing for free tire disposal.
“Each year we find thousands of single-use bottles and hundreds of tires in and near our rivers,” notes CRWC River Steward Jacqueline Talbot. “Eventually, this trash becomes part of the large ocean garbage patches that harm wildlife. We will use the data collected on these items during the Source to Sea Cleanup to help inform policies and practices that will get bottle and tire waste out of our rivers,” continues Talbot. “Healthy rivers are so important because they contribute so much, both to our economies and the beauty and enjoyment of our communities.”
Lead Source to Sea Cleanup sponsors NRG Middletown and TransCanada are pleased to support CRWC’s efforts. “TransCanada believes in partnering with organizations that help build stronger communities,” says Jasmin Bertovic, Vice President of the Eastern Commercial Region of TransCanada.
Jeff Araujo, manager of NRG’s Middletown Station, said “We’re pleased to sponsor this event annually, but also to go out and actually clean up the River. This is the community where we live and work, and it’s important to us.”
“We will address river pollution with innovation and teamwork,” says Talbot, “and you can be a part of it.” Volunteers of all ages and abilities are invited to head out to clean the Connecticut River and its tributaries on foot or by boat on Sept. 26 and 27. Volunteers remove trash along rivers, streams and stream banks, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Individuals can join a clean-up group by visiting www.ctriver.org/cleanup and clicking ‘Join a Group’.
Businesses are also encouraged to get involved by starting an employee clean-up group, making a donation of supplies such as gloves and trash bags, or becoming an event sponsor.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance.
Yesterday morning at 6:45 a.m., a bus pulled out of The Bowerbird parking lot with 65 members and friends of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on board. Among them were five students from Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools, including Hugh and Abigail Cipparone, who are seniors, Isaac Todd, and Isabella and Leland Hine.
Once in New York City, the bus party from Old Lyme joined what the Associated Press estimated was well over 100,000 marchers, who convened in downtown Manhattan. Other estimates put the figure as high as 300,000.
At 12:58 p.m., all marchers were silent until 1 p.m. when they made as much noise as possible, sounding an alarm to raise awareness about the growing environmental issues our world faces.
Marchers, who came from as far away as Canada, Alaska, El Salvador, and Texas, carried a variety of posters with messages about fracking, global warming, and other environmental issues.
Old Lyme Land Trust in conjunction with the Black Hall Outfitters is sponsoring a Kayak Regatta and Tour Sunday, Sept 21, beginning around 11 a.m. at the Black Hall Marina.
People can come with their own kayak or rent at the Black Hall Marina on Rte. 156. There will be a tour led by Barry Gorfain ,an experienced and certified kayak instructor, who will explore Griswold Point and the Roger Tory Peterson sanctuary. People may also explore the protected and beautiful Black Hall River.
The event is appropriate for kayakers of all ages and experience levels.
Refreshments will be provided and a small donation of $10 perkayaker or $25 per family is requested to benefit the land trust.
Visit www.blackhalloutfitters.com for more information.
The Lyme Land Conservation Trust and the East Haddam Land Trust have scheduled a field class on Saturday, Sept. 20 for anyone interested in learning how to participate in the outdoor game of geocaching, a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt using GPS-enabled devices.
Geocaching is a relatively new game in which participants hide “treasures” (caches) in various outdoor locations (often in parks, preserves, public forests, etc.) and then leave clues on the Internet on how others can find them using a smart phone or other GPS devices. Participants seeking out the caches navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find a treasure-filled container hidden at that location.
After finding a cache, a participant may take a treasure as long as it’s replaced with another small “treasure”, or as geocachers say, “Take some stuff, leave some stuff.” (Treasures are usually small items of little value, such as beads, buttons, small items of plastic jewelry, and the like).
The two land trusts will supply the treasures for this event and instruction by active geocachers led by Jim Lockhart, a geocaching enthusiast.
Participants must bring a GPS-enabled device or smart phone. More information and a free app needed to participate can be found at: http://www.lymelandtrust.org/event/geocaching-101/
Meet at 10 a.m. in the parking lot for Mount Archer Woods Preserve, Mount Archer Road, Lyme. (On the left one mile from Rt. 156. To locate using GPS coordinates, copy and paste the following log/lat into Bing Maps, Google Maps, or MapQuest search box: 41.409354, -72.353012 ).
This outdoor treasure hunt is anticipated to last approximately two hours.
More information on geocaching can be found at: www.geocaching.com
Register by sending an email containing your name and the number in your party to: email@example.com . Put “Geocaching” in the subject line.
SOLD OUT! Join the Old Lyme Land Trust for an incredible natural spectacle on the Connecticut River. In the late afternoon during the fall migration, hundreds of thousands of tree swallows gather on the river from 30 miles around and create beautiful sweeping formations in the sky. Just as the sun sets, they converge into a huge funnel over Goose Island and disappear into the reeds to roost for the night.
Old Lyme Land Trust will host a cruise on the Connecticut River to view the swallows in action on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 each. Wine, beer, and soft drinks will be provided. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic supper.
Contact Ted Mundy (860-434-5674) for more information or to purchase tickets.
Nearly 50 acres in Lyme, Conn., will become part of the Whalebone Cove Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, thanks to collaboration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. The conserved parcel almost doubles the total acreage of the division, bringing it up to 116 acres.
The Nature Conservancy originally purchased this property in 1999 as an addition to its Whalebone Cove Preserve. The Conservancy transferred the property to the Service, who acquired the parcel through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which for 50 years, has provided money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands.
“Nations are defined by the natural and cultural heritage they choose to preserve, which is why the Land and Water Conservation Fund is such a vital conservation tool,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “It’s fitting that as we mark the 50th anniversary of this conservation milestone, we do so by protecting important habitat at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and across the nation for current and future generations of Americans to enjoy.”
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was established to conserve native plants, animals and their habitats in the 7.2 million acre Connecticut River watershed that stretches across four states. It is the only refuge in the country dedicated to a river’s entire watershed.
Transfer of this property follows the successful partnership between the Conservancy and the Service in August of last year, when 26 acres were acquired from a private landowner. The Service also acquired the 26-acre parcel through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Together with 40 acres donated last summer from the Conservancy, those properties established the new Whalebone Cove Division of the refuge.
“The Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge and the Conservancy share the same goals for Whalebone Cove: protecting the area’s ecological integrity and the habitats and species embedded within it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies specialist for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “Our colleagues at the Refuge have repeatedly demonstrated their conservation expertise up and down the Connecticut River, and we’re extremely happy to add Whalebone Cove to the record of successful conservation collaboration between the Refuge and The Nature Conservancy.”
The Whalebone Cove Division protects freshwater tidal marshes at the head of the Connecticut River, as well as other habitats including mature forest, floodplain forest and upland meadows. Whalebone Cove offers biologically significant feeding ground for migratory waterfowl, and serves as wintering area for bald eagles and black ducks.
September 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the LWCF. Lands purchased through the fund are used to provide recreational opportunities, protect clean water, preserve wildlife habitat, enhance scenic vistas, protect archaeological and historical sites and maintain the nature of wilderness areas.
The Service and The Nature Conservancy are meeting with residents to discuss the refuge with nearby communities. The Service anticipates the formation of a Friends group to support and promote the mission of the new addition to the refuge.
“These investments contribute toward the refuge purpose established by Congress and enrich our quality of life by expanding conservation, education and recreation opportunities for the public. The permanent protection of this property was possible because of the Service’s long standing partnership with The Nature Conservancy and support from the Congressional delegation, the Administration, and the public,” said Andrew French, project leader at the Conte Refuge.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web atwww.nature.org/connecticut
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Lyme Horse Trials at Lord Creek Farm Today, Offers Opportunity to Join Newly-Formed Lyme Trail Association
The public is invited to come to beautiful Lord Creek Farm in Lyme, Conn., today, Aug. 17, and watch close to 100 local riders of all ages compete in the equestrian competition known as Eventing. One of the fastest growing equestrian pursuits, it is the ultimate challenge for horse and rider, testing their partnership and athletic prowess in three disciplines: the grace and harmony of dressage; the rigors and thrills of cross-country jumping over natural obstacles; and the power and pageantry of show jumping.
Founded by Lord Creek Farm owner, Janie Davison, 14 years ago, the Lyme Horse Trials offer both an opportunity for beginner and intermediate riders to compete, and to support High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. and the Connecticut Valley Pony Club, and the Lyme Trail Association, three locally based nonprofit organizations, who share the proceeds.
A new component to the horse trials this year is the formation of the Lyme Trail Association, which is a 501(c)3 membership association that allows anyone who joins to hike or ride on Lord Creek Farm.
This is an opportunity for the public to watch an exciting competition from key vantage points at a private estate along a course that winds through woods and fields with spectacular views of the Connecticut River. Food will be available from local vendors or bring a picnic. It’s sure to be a fun family day. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the event, visit www.lymehorsetrials.com.
Lyme Horse Trials is organized entirely by volunteers and is generously supported by local business partners, including Northstar Wealth Partners, Reynolds Garage & Marine, BA Brooks Associates, SeaSide Wine & Spirits, Drs. McAraw, Cantner, Cantner, Foise and Barasz,and Essex Savings Bank. Proceeds from the Trials will benefit High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., Connecticut Valley Pony Club and the Lyme Trail Association.
The mission of High Hopes is to improve the lives of people with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities through the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities, while serving the therapeutic riding profession through training and education.
The Connecticut Valley Pony Club is a volunteer organization that fosters the development of thoughtful, responsible and knowledgeable young riders in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Connecticut Valley Pony Club is a member of the United States Pony Clubs. To learn more, visit cvponyclub.wordpress.com
The Lyme Trail Association is a non-profit membership association dedicated to the maintenance, stewardship and enjoyment of trails in Lyme and the surrounding area. It supports a community of horseback riders and non-riders who appreciate the rural character of Southeastern Connecticut and understand the importance of preserving the area’s rustic nature.
A mild earthquake early Thursday that registered at 2.7 on the Richter Scale was centered in Deep River, Conn. The earthquake, which was confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey, occurred around 3:09 a.m. and caused no reports of damage.
State police and dispatchers at the Troop F Barracks in Westbrook reported receiving numerous calls immediately after the quake from residents reporting an explosion and or shaking of the ground around their homes.
The quake was also felt in Chester, and as far away as Middletown, Durham, and East Hampton on the east side of the Connecticut River. The quake occurred between two to three miles underground. A similar mild earthquake that was centered around Chester occurred in March 2008 with no damage reported
In a recent interview with LymeLine, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stated, “The Old Lyme town government has been attempting to pursue renovations of the Sound View beach since May of 2013.” The desired outcome of the renovations will be a bike path that leads from exit 70 on the Baldwin Bridge following I-95, down Rte. 156 to Hartford Avenue.
This will lead bikers to what will be the new parking lot. The community lot on Hartford Avenue, across from Sound View beach, will be redeveloped into a picnic area. The lot will maintain 44 parking spaces, and the rest will be transformed into grassy regions for a more park-like feel. The town was awarded a grant to revitalize the area, with instructions for the money to be put into specific stages.
The federal grant covers up to 80 percent of the project, and the town is responsible for the remaining 20 percent. The amount of $148,500 has already been approved by the grant, but the construction costs will be determined after the design phase is complete.
The first stage is for engineers to “complete the ‘picture’ of the final product,” noted Reemsnyder. They will draw up designs for the park area. These documents will then go to contractors, who will decide on the cost of the project. The bike path will need to be mapped and signed off as well. Once all of the designs for the park and path are finalized and approved, the second stage of the project can begin.
The second stage is construction, which is projected to start in the fall of 2015. Town meetings will be held at various points throughout the project, such as the one on Wednesday,July 16, which “went well” according to Reemsnyder. Before construction can begin, the allocation for construction cost funds will need to be approved at one of these town meetings.
The revitalization is hoped to enhance tourism, improve business, and connect the beach to the rest of the town in a more accessible and friendly manner.
On the town website, under current projects, there is a link to more information regarding the proposal.
Visitors at this year’s Hamburg Fair on Aug. 15, 16 and 17, will see that the animal ring where the horse and oxen competitions are held has been refurbished.
Life Scout Matthew M. Miller of BSA Troop 26 of Lyme and Old Lyme led approximately 25 people over the weekend of June 14-15 as part of his Eagle Scout Project to repair the ring that was in desperate need of restoration. The project benefited the Lyme Grange Fairgrounds where the annual Hamburg Fair is held every August. The Fair draws several thousand visitors from all over the state each year.
Matt developed his project by meeting with the Lyme Grange and then submitting his plan for approval with BSA Mohegan District.
Everything came together over Father’s Day weekend under beautiful skies and clear weather. His team replaced four gates, installed new gate latches, replaced the vast majority of wooden rails, replaced or repaired posts and gave the whole area two coats of barn red stain.
Congratulations, Matt – what a great project!
During the winter of 1974 a group of shoreline friends met up one evening to discuss the idea of starting a new local event, to be run in the summertime and ultimately benefit local charities. With this shared philosophy, the Connecticut River Raft Race was conceived. The first race course started at the Deep River Landing and finished on Knott’s Island off of Essex. The raft race has changed locations four times in the past 40 years.
The 40th annual Connecticut River Raft Race will take place on Aug. 2, in Portland, Conn. The race will commence with a cannon blast at 10 a.m. from Gildersleeve Island in Portland and finishes four and a half miles downriver at the Portland Boatyard. The Raft Race weekend starts on Aug. 1 with a cook-off and camping at the Portland Boatyard.
Over the years, new categories have been added to the event. Kayaks and canoes are welcome and will be competing in their own category. This event is not limited to people local to the Portland area. Last year racers from Coventry, Bozrah, Newington, Waterbury, Portland, East Hampton, Windsor, East Haven, New Haven, New Britain, Stratford, Rocky Hill, Middletown and Deep River, all towns in Connecticut, participated as well as one raft from Chestertown, Md.
Sightseers are welcome. This event can be viewed from River Park in Middletown, Cromwell landing and the Portland Boatyard. Pack the car with your grill and goodies and join the fun at the end of the race. Enjoy the camaraderie of the day including live music. Proceeds from this event are donated to local charities.
A land parcel off Halls Road with access to the Lieutenant River will soon belong to the town for public recreational use.
Residents voted at a special town meeting Tuesday to accept the donated land, about a half-acre in size, from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.
Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.
“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”
On Tuesday, July 8, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.
“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”
The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.
The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property. The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.
The property has a 15-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.
The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. A further $3 million is expected to be raised via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.
Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, winning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007.
The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011. The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Conn., and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.
Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. This completely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens.
As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.
Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Conn. in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt.
Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound.
The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.
ESSEX— Voters at a town meeting Wednesday gave unanimous approval for a $200,000 appropriation as the town’s contribution for purchase of the 70-acre portion of the Preserve property in Essex. More than 100 residents turned out for the meeting in the town hall auditorium, with a round of applause following approval of the funding on a voice vote without discussion.
First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from an open space acquisition sinking fund available in the current town budget. The town meeting vote ends years of debate about the wooded property that includes the Essex acreage off Ingham Hill Road that had been the subject of a subdivision application in 2011.
Paul Greenberg with the Essex Land Trust, said the non-profit group is expected to at least match the town contribution for purchase of the portion of the property in Essex. Greenberg said the Trust has applied for a state grant of up to $350,000 that is awarded in October. He said the Trust would also use private fundraising for the purchase.
Old Saybrook voters in a July 8 referendum approved $3 million in bonding for purchase of the much larger 930-acre section of the property in their town. State bond funds will also be used for the total $8 million purchase, which is being coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land. The purchase of the total 1,000-acre property for preservation as public open space is expected to close by the end of the year.
Greenberg said the Essex section of the property would be owned by the Essex Land Trust, while the larger Old Saybrook portion would be co-owned by that town and the state. Greenberg said access to the property from Essex would be off Ingham Hill Road, with trails in to the property to be improved for greater public access next year.
Selectman Bruce Glowac, who lives on Ingham Hill Road, spoke for the crowd when he expressed appreciation for the public acquisition of the total property. “We look forward to having 1,000 acres in the town next to us and in our town,” he said.