Landing Place: Land trusts preserve Valley’s rural beauty
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
This article first appeared as the cover story in the August 2022 edition of Today Magazine, our monthly publication
By Bruce Deckert — Editor-in-Chief • Today Magazine
• land • noun — an expanse of ground with specific boundaries, especially in terms of its ownership or use
• trust • noun — assured reliance on someone or something • an arrangement whereby a trustee holds property as its nominal owner for the good of one or more beneficiaries
THE FARMINGTON VALLEY is known for its open space, parks and forests. All five Valley towns feature a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving the region’s extraordinary pastoral beauty.
Conservation land trusts are organizations that take legal ownership and stewardship over undeveloped property at the behest of the previous landowner — in order to maintain natural resources, recreational areas and historical sites for future generations.
Two Valley land trusts are celebrating a 50th anniversary this year — the Canton Land Conservation Trust and the Granby Land Trust were established in 1972. Granby is spotlighted in this edition of Today Magazine. Look for a feature on Canton in an upcoming edition.
Meanwhile, the Farmington Land Trust was founded in 1971, the Avon Land Trust in 1973, and the Simsbury Land Trust in 1976. Each Valley land trust is managed by a volunteer board of directors or trustees.
Numerous hiking trails crisscross land trust properties throughout the Valley, giving access to a remarkable array of forests, fields, lakes, meadows, streams and countless picturesque panoramas.
The mission statements of these conservation organizations dovetail and echo a love for the outdoors and a desire to share that passion with Valley residents via wise stewardship — here’s a synopsis of their stated goals:
Avon Land Trust
• Acres preserved — about 400
“To preserve and protect undeveloped land and enhance our town’s environmental and historic resources. … To provide public access to appropriate properties and in so doing provide public enjoyment of nature … [and] to retain the natural charm of our town.”
Canton Land Conservation Trust
• Acres preserved — about 2000
“To acquire, preserve and protect land of scenic, natural or historic value within the Town of Canton; to maintain this land and its plant and animal life using the best conservation, wildlife habitat and forestry practices available; and to promote public awareness, understanding, and enjoyment of the land.”
Farmington Land Trust
• Acres preserved — about 300
The trust “protects over 300 acres of fields, forests, wetlands, scenic vistas, historic sites and wildlife habitat from development [to] remain as open space forever, enriching the quality of life for Farmington residents for generations to come. … Protecting open space also protects wildlife. We offer many programs and events to educate and advocate for our feathered and furry friends.”
Granby Land Trust
• Acres preserved — about 2900
“To preserve Granby’s natural heritage through the conservation of its scenic vistas, open space corridors, wildlife habitat, ecologically sensitive areas and agricultural land. … Providing our community with opportunities to get outside, exercise and reconnect with nature is important to us.”
Simsbury Land Trust
• Acres preserved — about 1100
“To protect scenic vistas, geological features and farmland that visually define Simsbury’s character and provide healthy habitats for local wildlife and plants. … Our goal is to consistently craft, support and implement creative land conservation solutions for the benefit of present and future generations.”
This harmony of preservation and education reflects a shared vision, transcending town lines, for the safekeeping of the Farmington Valley’s cornucopia of open space. +
Editor-in-chief Bruce Deckert is an award-winning journalist
• Sources — Valley land trust websites
• Related Today Online story — GLT: Preserving open space for 50 years