I’ve just begun spending weekends at my new very old house in Litchfield County; every day there is an adventure, often full of ‘firsts’.
Recently I was told my property is connected to the Roxbury Land Trust – but really had little idea what that might mean. With one of my regular ‘partners-in-crime’ – my brother Gary -we ventured into the woods at the back of my land to see what was there….
Charles Pratt (a nationally known photographer whose family started the Pratt Institute), Mitchell Gratwick (a doctor and the retired headmaster of the Horace Mann School in New York) and Harold Birchall (a local dairy farmer and the town of Roxbury’s First Selectman from 1968-1981) were the three men who founded the Roxbury Land Trust because they had one thing in common: an abiding love of Roxbury’s rural landscape and a deep conviction that something had to be done to preserve the land and the quality of the water in its rivers and brooks.
As a rural town in Litchfield County, Roxbury has a mere 2,320 inhabitants living in 26-square miles. Today the Roxbury Land Trust controls over 3,400 acres conserved as meadowland, forest, wetlands and farmland; a remarkable 17 % of Roxbury’s total land area!
While I was told that my property abutted the Land Trust – which sounded like a good thing – I had NO IDEA what that really meant.
After some investigation I learned my property abuts two parcels of Trust lands totalling an unbelievable 340 acres – and down the road a little bit and across the street another 60 acres – and down the road still further another 476 acres.
What Gary and I found was an incredible forest landscape that led to a brook – which led to marshland and wooded swampland with very clear evidence of beaver activity, a beaver lodge, old stone walls, and dramatic rock outcroppings.
The road to my house from the nearby town of Woodbury is beautiful, with a surprising amount of it held by the Land Trust and I am thrilled to know that the heavily wooded and rural character will for the most part remain undisturbed in perpetuity.
Two weekends ago I had been invited to attended a Roxbury Land Trust event on East Flag Swamp Road at the home of the President of the RLT Board.
I had seen signs for this road with the wacky name, and on a map it appeared to be ‘just around the corner’, but as it turned out everything is relative. I drove on the unpaved Flag Swamp Roads for about a mile before finding a mailbox in the woods with the house number and a gravel driveway with no house in sight.
I drove and I drove and I drove through untouched forest for nearly 3/4 mile to finally reach the home high on a hill in the middle of the woods overlooking a large pond. The ‘journey’ was incredible.
Not knowing what or who I would find at this event I was pleasantly surprised to find the hosts and the other guests were all extremely friendly. Many of the other guests had been members of this community for at least a decade, or two, or three…. I found that introducing myself as the “Roxbury Newbie” was a good ice breaker. Most everyone knew exactly which house I purchased, and knew how superbly it is placed to enjoy the benefits of the extensive RLT holdings near my property.
A nice welcome to Roxbury indeed! Interested in learning more about the Roxbury Land Trust? Visit their website: http://www.roxburylandtrust.org
I will be sending a check to join the Roxbury Land Trust this week, and will report on more RLT discoveries in future posts.