State Grant Launches The Purchase of the Lowry Woods Property
The Land Trust is pleased to announce that the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Open Space and Watershed Lands Acquisition grant program has awarded us $462,500 to help with the purchase of 73 acres of woodlands. The new parcel, known as Lowry Woods, is located just north of the Daniel Hand high school on Warpas Rd. It abuts land owned by the State, the Town of Madison and the Land Trust. The area represents one of the Trust’s most concentrated networks of hiking trails where opportunities for public access and recreation are greatest.
The purchase of this property represents an extremely rare opportunity to protect open space in the Neck River watershed corridor. The river runs along the western side of the property. The conservation of this land is important to the long-term health of the river, the ground water, and ultimately Long Island Sound. The grant from the state will make it possible for the Land Trust to move ahead with purchase of the property and avoid the addition of 25-30 homes if the land were developed.
The Land Trust is especially thrilled the the property has come to us through a decades-long relationship with with Dr. Betty Lowry, long-time board member and past president of the Land Trust. Learn more about the purchase here.
Betty Lowry (center) with Barry Haigis and Joan O’Neill
Lowry Woods outlined in Red with proposed trails in yellow.
Map showing the location of the property north of Green Hill Road.
The Lowry Trail
In June 2017, the Madison Land Conservation Trust became the proud owners of two new parcels of land in north Madison.
The parcels were purchased from the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority and connect three of our existing properties, creating one large conservation area with over 300 contiguous acres of protected woodlands and watercourses.
The generosity of our donors combined with a grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program made it possible for us to raise the down payment needed to close on this purchase.
Here’s why we’re so excited about this acquisition.
For years, three of our properties—the Bailey Trails Preserve on the Hammonasset River (along Summer Hill Road), the Summer Hill Preserve (just north and east of Route 80), and the Indian Rock Shelters Preserve (a little farther north, and west of Summer Hill Road)—have drawn hikers to discover the wonder of our local woods, rivers, and uplands. At the same time, these beautiful areas provided protection for numerous species of fish, birds, mammals, and plants—some of them species of concern.
But these three properties were separated by parcels that were at risk of being developed—threatening wildlife habitat and water safety.
With this purchase, the Land Trust now owns the acreage that separated them—and the risk of development is permanently eliminated so these uplands and wetlands will remain untouched. From now on, the whip-poor-wills, beaver, and pale green orchids will thrive on the Summer Hill Preserve.
Our efforts will also enable the state’s vision for environmental sustainability and stewardship. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has classified the Hammonasset River and Long Island Sound as areas of high ecological significance.
Our Stewardship Committee is hard at work building a trail on the land that will connect to the existing Bailey, Summer Hill and Indian Rock Shelters trails.
New parcels are shown in blue. Existing Land Trust properties on the east and west sides of Summer Hill Road are shown in light green. The Rt. 80 traffic circle is in the lower left with Rt. 79 going north/south and Rt. 80 going east/west.
Please join us in welcoming Ian Taylor to the Land Trust board
Ian has worked in pharmaceutical research and development for 20 years, first at Bayer Pharmaceutical in West Haven and now at Pfizer in Groton. His current position is an Early Development Team Leader at Pfizer Oncology with responsibility of running Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials.
Ian has been a resident of Madison for over 20 years and has been hiking the Land Trust trails since that time, largely inspired by wanting to introduce his and his wife Christine’s three children to the environment and to the great resource that are the Land Trust trails and preserves. “It is a pleasure to serve on the board as a way to demonstrate my appreciation for what I view to be a community treasure.”
Ian has also served as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader and a youth soccer and basketball coach for many years and is a member of the Knights of Columbus at St Margaret Church.
The Land Trust board is pleased to welcome our newest director, Linda Niccolai. In her professional life, Linda is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the Development Core for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale.
Linda grew up in Greenwich, CT. As a young adult she lived in several different parts of the country before settling in Madison in 2000 with her sons Patrick and Steven. She says “I’m very happy to be back in CT and love living where I can walk on Land Trust trails often!” Linda is a life-long lover of the outdoors including hiking and camping with her family as well as gardening and birding in her back yard.
Linda’s interest in the Land Trust is the intersection of conservation and community involvement. Please join us in welcoming Linda when you meet her on the trail!
Barry Haigis, 1935 – 2014
It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our longtime friend and Land Trust supporter, Barry Haigis. Barry was a tireless volunteer for the Trust both in the woods working to steward our trails and properties, and on the board where he served as president of the Trust from 2003-2007. His friendly face and outgoing nature were familiar to so many friends of the Trust who met Barry on hikes and at Land Trust events. Together with his wife Betsy, his support of the Trust was unwavering. We mourn his loss even as we remember his many contributions to Madison.
NRU trailhead before the Eagle Scout project.
This autumn the Madison Land Conservation Trust was fortunate to be the recipient of a gift from an Eagle Scout. Stephen Hansen, a member of BSA Troup 494, grew up in north Madison and spent many happy hours hiking and exploring the Land Trust property near his neighborhood – the Neck River Uplands North. He had noticed that the trailhead on Princess Drive was steep and eroded making it difficult for hikers to access the trail. As his senior year of high school approached, he realized that he could design a project that would improve the trail for Land Trust visitors while at the same time fulfilling his dream of becoming an Eagle Scout.
Working with Ted O’Neill, volunteer Eagle Scout coordinator, his scout leaders, Mr. John Rogers and Mr. Ian Taylor, and his parents, Stephen developed a design for improvements to the trailhead that included 15 stone and timber frame steps, waterbars to improve runoff, and grading at the top and bottom of the new trailhead. Stephen was responsible for coordinating a team of 20 people who came out to help with the project, contributing 150 hours of labor. He raised all the money to purchase the necessary materials. And when the work day arrived, Stephen acted as project coordinator, assembling all the material and tools at the site, directing his work crew, and making sure everything was constructed according to the plans he had drawn up.
Stephen’s project leaves a tangible legacy to the Neck River Uplands that will be appreciated by visitors to the trail for years to come. It is a tribute to his energy and leadership ability that he was both able and willing to complete the project. The Madison Land Conservation Trust is fortunate to be the recipient of his outstanding efforts and the generosity of his donors: Madison Lion’s Club, Madison Exchange Club, North Madison Wine and Spirits, Madison Veterinarian Hospital, Dr. Doug Callis, Shoreline Pediatrics, Mike Ott and the Town of Madison, and Guilford Savings Bank.
Volunteers working on the steps.
New timber framed steps at the trailhead.
Robert F. Schumann Memorial Gift
The Madison Land Conservation Trust received a generous donation of $25,000 from Ford Schumann in memory of his brother Robert F. Schumann, who passed away on December 8th. Robert was an active supporter of open space and environmental organizations. He spent every summer of his life in Madison and retired here ten years ago.
Robert Schumann’s avid interest in birds began in childhood. His involvement expanded over his lifetime, leading to service on the boards of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He combined his media expertise and love of birds in designing and setting up the Audubon Society’s film and television programs. The Schumann Foundation, begun by Robert and Ford’s parents in 1962 and now called the Schumann Media Center headed by Bill Moyers, established a Chair in his honor at Wesleyan University named the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies.
One of his most notable local accomplishments will be preserved at the former Griswold Airport. Mr. Schumann was an early supporter and member of the citizens group formed in 2001 to protect that environmentally sensitive component of the migratory flyway. The outcome of those efforts was the establishment of a new 42-acre town park, most of which will be kept as open space.
The donation will be used for future open space acquisitions. The MLCT is grateful to Ford Schumann and his family for their generosity, and to Robert Schumann for the legacy of environmental action and passion for nature that he has left us.
Land Trust Welcomes New Board President Mike Maloney
In January 2012 Mike Maloney took over the position of president of the MLCT Board of Directors from Diana Insolio, who led the board for four years. Mike has been an active board member for nine years. As a child Mike developed his love for the outdoors as a member of the National Campers and Hikers Association and of the Boy Scouts. When Mike moved to Madison in 2000, he wasted no time getting out on Land Trust properties and soon was invited to become a member of the board. His favorite hikes are in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and in the Catskill Mountains of New York. For the past few years he has managed to get in several hikes (or snowshoe trips) in these places. This winter Mike and his wife, Macdara MacColl, plan to do their first Hut-to-Hut cross-country ski trip in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness. Mike, Macdara, and their three children, Tara, Sawyer and Craigin, are all active hikers, boaters and campers.
Cedar Island seen from the Ox Pasture platform
The MLCT is poised to acquire Cedar Island, a lovely one-acre parcel located in the East River between the state boat launch at Neck Road/Circle Beach Road and Friends & Company on Route 1. For generations the island has been owned by the Ives family, whose members have generously agreed to donate the land to the MLCT. Thanks to the generosity of the Ives family, canoeists, kayakers and other boaters who have for years traveled past Cedar Island will soon be able to stop and enjoy its unique setting, its cedar woods, and the plaque that will be erected in honor of its donors.
MLCT and TPL Partner to Save Summer Hill Property
The Madison Land Conservation Trust (MLCT) recently took ownership of 77 acres of open space located at the intersection Route 80 and Summer Hill Road. The land, within a large watershed, is a gateway to north Madison’s rural beauty, connecting thousands of acres of open space owned by public and private entities along Summer Hill Road. The land was owned for many years by Jane Bauermeister, who passed the property on to her children at her death several years ago. The Bauermeister children retained and sold the 6.4-acre parcel on the east side of Summer Hill Road, which was the site of the Bauermeister homestead, as well as art and music festivals organized by Mrs. Bauermeister during her lifetime. Development is restricted on the retained parcel, thereby preserving the scenic value of the area.
The MLCT partnered with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in a campaign to raise funds for the purchase. The purchase could not have gone forward without the generosity of an anonymous donor, whose appreciation for the beauty and ecology of north Madison motivated all who worked on the project. The MLCT’s anonymous donor gave the MLCT $600,000 to the campaign and then provided another $300,000 loan at closing. The State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection granted another $500,000 for the acquisition. These funds, along with the many generous donations by private donors, met the campaign’s goal of $1.6 million.
The MLCT is now reaching out to our supporters and members to help us retire our $300,000 debt. Please consider mailing a donation to the Madison Land Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 561, Madison, CT 06443, and note on the check that your gift is for the Summer Hill campaign.
Find the Summer Hill Property on the map below.
Click the flag for directions.