Is the Appalachian Trail coming to Weston?  In the meantime...FOR  THE  BIRDS.

 M O R E    N E W S : 


Standing Room Only ALT Open House
Weston Library, April 25, 2018

Decision-makers in the room


After introduction us to new purchase - breakout groups

At the Selectmen:  Leash Law PUBLIC HEARING, May 7, 2015;  Exec. Director Brant, left.
Not pictured above, but he was there!  Aspectuck Land Trust Ranger hired:

ALT art show at Weston Library

Living With Coyotes Talk by Wildlife Biologist Set For Sunday April 26, 2015 at Weston Public Library
Coyotes and how to live with them will be the focus of a talk by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wildlife biologist Chris Vann set for Sunday April 26, 2015 from 2-3 pm in the Weston Public Library. Vann's talk is sponsored by Aspetuck Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Town of Weston. 
Since they were first documented in Connecticut in the 1950s, coyotes have expanded their range and are now common throughout the state, according to Vann. They are opportunistic and live in a variety of habitats including wooded suburbs, parks, beach fronts and office parks, he added.
"Their ability to survive and take advantage of food sources found in and around man-made habitats has resulted in an increase in coyote sightings and related conflicts," according to Vann...


"Berkshire Landscape" at right...from another person's photograph, NFS.


Loss of meadow habitat bad news for birds
John Burgeson, CTPOST
Published 12:12 am, Saturday, August 2, 2014

The open spaces that humans think are wonderful places for wildlife are, more often than not, better suited to people.

The Connecticut Audubon Society, in its State of the Birds 2014 report, issued a scathing assessment of how open spaces are managed in Connecticut, noting that the population numbers of some bird species are in a tailspin because their traditional habitats have all but disappeared. The report also notes there's no accurate count as to how much bona fide open space really exists in the state.

The reasons for the loss of the meadow environment are many, but the fact that birds aren't allowed to vote is part of it, according to Stephen B. Oresman, chairman emeritus of the Connecticut Audubon Society. Oresman, who wrote the opening essay in the report, notes that support in the state Legislature is scant for preserving habitats that humans don't find attractive or valuable, such as scrubland and meadows.

He also said that "open space" and "wildlife habitat" are not always the same...story in full at CT POST.

Former dairy farm provides space for off-leash dog walking, temporarily banned at Trout Brook, while study is ongoing.

Easton dairy farm serves new function
Peter Kirby, CT POST
Published 01:00 a.m., Monday, June 11, 2012

One of the town's last two working dairy farms is now serving a new function: open space.

Randall's Farm Nature Preserve, a 34-acre expanse of meadows, wetlands and forests that is managed by local conservation group Aspetuck Land Trust, is now open to the public and features a number of trails for hiking, dog walking and other outdoor activities...story in full at CT POST.

A Yearning for Dogs to Roam Free
February 10, 2012


AT the Trout Brook Valley nature preserve in this picturesque corner of the state, all appears calm. An unseasonably mild breeze rustles the bare trees, while a red-tail hawk glides high above. A stream of dog walkers comes and goes, nodding to ruddy-faced hikers and the occasional rider on horseback.

But beneath the genteel veneer is a pitched battle over that all-important pet accessory, the leash, and, specifically, whether dogs here need to be on one.

In October, the Aspetuck Land Trust, which manages the preserve, placed a moratorium on walking dogs off leash on the property as the group undertook a year-long wildlife study. The move touched off a sometimes snarling debate among members of the trust and visitors to the preserve, with off-leash advocates lobbying to get the privilege back and opponents pressing to keep dogs tethered.

“Emotions are high,” said David Brant, executive director of the trust, whose 20-member board includes Melissa Newman, the actor Paul Newman’s daughter. “We recognize that passions exist on both sides, and we have tried to take a balanced and thoughtful approach.”

The leash quandary is not unique to Trout Brook Valley. Across the region, land trusts, town recreation departments and city parks agencies have struggled with the question, weighing liability and wildlife protection against forceful advocacy of many dog owners...story in full at the NYTIMES.

Westport News
Letter: Trout Brook leashes
Published 10:25 a.m., Friday, December 30, 2011

Michael White raised some very good points in his Dec. 2 letter regarding the Aspetuck Land Trust's new dog policy [Trout Brook Valley should stay leash free"]. I would like to respond.

Through our participation in the Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership, we have learned about the importance of a bigger-picture approach in how we manage our lands. For example, Trout Brook Valley is part of the Centennial forest chain and offers 10 square miles of contiguous forested lands for wildlife to traverse.

It is important to understand that because of the size of the Trout Brook Valley conservation area (1,009 acres) and the fact that it is part of a much larger open space area, including one of the last great open fields in the Northeast coast in the orchard which provides important hawk habitat, we have an obligation to manage this preserve properly.

Our smaller preserves do provide habitat for animals and insects, but when it comes to conservation, size matters. Trout Brook Valley is big and it provides important habitat for wildlife because of its large size. Therefore, in the fall of 2010, we applied for a grant to implement a flora and fauna assessment of TBV. The grant to do this assessment was received in August 2011 and was immediately put into action. In order to accurately do this assessment, the only animals that may traverse this land off trail are the animals who are dependent upon this area for their lives.

It is important to note that we don't ban dogs on most of our preserves, and in fact, we allow dogs "off leash" on the vast majority of our nature preserves, which is very uncommon among Land Trusts and conservation groups. After the survey in Trout Brook Valley is conducted, we hope to allow dogs back off leash in those areas that are less ecologically sensitive.

But first we need to conduct the wildlife study to determine just where the sensitive and less sensitive areas exist. We are not angling to permanently restrict dogs to leashes under the guise of the study. Doing the study is simply good practice on behalf of our organization. So, for this upcoming year and until the study is completed, you cannot walk your dog off leash in Trout Brook Valley.

Mr. White, being in the field of science, I think you can appreciate all of the efforts being put forth so that this incredibly lovely and richly diverse preserve will be cared for intelligently in order to insure it will be around for many, many years to come. Now that you have an accurate picture of the sequence of events, I hope you understand that we are caring for the land in the best possible way.

Aspetuck Land Trust is a non-profit membership organization established in 1966 with over 1,000 local members. For more information, visit

Lisa Brodlie, Chairwoman

Aspetuck Land Trust

Land Management Committee


It never gets old - TROUT BROOK VALLEY IS A MUST-WALK IN SUMMER!!!  Numero uno walk, in my opinion!  Woof!!!

Trouble at Trout Brook: What to do when dogs, bikes and nature collide
Weston FORUM
Written by David Brant, Aspetuck Land Trust
Monday, 14 June 2010 00:00

Trout Brook Valley provides its visitors with tranquil vistas, challenging trails, seasonal beauty and abundant nature experiences.

The Aspetuck Land Trust, which owns and manages Trout Brook Valley, has welcomed dogs and mountain bikers and the general public — whether members or not — into this open space preserve since its acquisition more than 10 years ago...story in full at the FORUM.

Saugatuck River becomes more fish-friendly, one dam at a time
By John Burgeson, STAFF WRITER
Updated: 12/23/2009 07:42:58 PM EST

Just about every American has seen film clips of salmon leaping over impossibly tall waterfalls.

But not all species of fish are as athletic as salmon. Most, in fact, can't negotiate a knee-high dam.

This is a problem for fish trying to swim up the Saugatuck River, which flows from Ridgefield to Westport's shoreline. Sally Harold, director of the Nature Conservancy's Saugatuck River Watershed Project, said the river has several major dams, most of them dating back to Colonial times, and each makes life difficult for the blueback herring and alewife heading upstream to spawn.

There are more than 100 small dams in the entire Saugatuck watershed, which has more than 200 miles of tributaries that cover 56,000 acres in 11 communities in southwestern Connecticut.

"The colonists were particularly active in this watershed, building dams," Harold said. "This was a problem, because the fish that frequent this river aren't particularly big jumpers."

Ideally, she said, the dams should be removed, but property owners along the river view them as historic, even though they degrade the habitat. For example, she said, they boost water temperatures, making the Saugatuck less attractive to fish...story in full at the CT POST.

State DEP to host forum on 5-year plan for forests
Article published Apr 18, 2010

The state Department of Environmental Protection will host a forum on Wednesday, April 28, to discuss ideas and recommendations for the five-year Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy being prepared for the state.

The forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at DEP headquarters at 79 Elm St., Hartford.  The basis for the forum will be the results of a series of roundtable discussions in February and March.

The forest assessment is being done because a 2008 federal farm bill requires each state to complete this work to receive U.S. Forest Service funds.
A report on the roundtable discussions can be found at

People can speak during the forum, or submit written comments by May 15 to the Department of Environmental Protection Division of Forestry; 79 Elm St., Hartford CT 06106. Comments can also be submitted to

Connecticut forest-land forum looks at state's wooded assets:  Diverse ownership, varied uses make quantifying a challenge
The Day
By Judy Benson
Published 11/26/2009 12:00 AM
Updated 11/26/2009 02:10 AM

Storrs - With woodlands covering nearly 60 percent of this relatively small state, Connecticut's forest resources are a vital part of the state's economic, environmental, cultural and aesthetic resources.

But quantifying those assets, while potentially tricky, will provide forest landowners, policymakers and state and local decision-makers with an important tool that will help keep the state's forests as forests. The task is made more complex by the fact that 80 percent of the state's forest land is privately owned, divided among as many as 100,000 individuals and private institutions such as Yale University and water companies.

Those messages, and current efforts under way to inventory and value the state's forestland, were the main themes of a daylong forum at the University of Connecticut Tuesday. Titled, "Connecticut Forests in a Changing World - From Global to Local," the conference was sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association and the UConn Cooperative Extension System and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources...story in full at the New London DAY.

How did they miss Trout Brook?  On my list, it is numero uno (see photos above...)
The top five hikes in Fairfield County
By Thomas Ebersold
Posted: 07/17/2009 10:10:05 AM EDT
Updated: 07/17/2009 10:33:37 AM EDT 

Best of lists are always subjective and this list is no exception, but any of these hikes is sure to please an outdoors enthusiast.

Listed in alphabetical order, the top five best hikes in Fairfield County are: Lillinonah Trail, Newtown; Pequonnock River Valley, Trumbull; Saugatuck Trail, Weston/Redding; Tarrywile Park, Danbury; and Webb Mountain Park, Monroe.

Before heading out on your journey, remember that a key to enjoying any hike is proper preparation. When going on any hike, be sure to have a map of the area and know how to read it. Waterproof boots are also recommended because most hiking areas have wet and muddy sections, and wear wool or synthetic socks to reduce the likelihood of blisters. Don't forget to carry enough water and food to last for the duration of the hike, and take appropriate protection against ticks that may carry Lyme more about the Saugatuck Trails system here...

Weston preserve offers honey of a hike

Greenwich TIME
By Scott Gargan, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 08/21/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT

Editor's note: This is the latest in an occasional series on area hiking venues.

Just two miles from Cannondale train station, on the northern part of an egg-shaped hill, lies Honey Hill Preserve, a 38-acre open space park that supports an array of diverse plant life within a relatively small area. Owned by the Aspetuck Land Trust, the preserve features three interconnecting loop trails with plants ranging from white pine to several distinct species of fern.

Parking is scarce at the preserve entrance on Wampum Hill Road (just two narrow spaces). If the spots are taken, park along Honey Hill Road or the cul-de-sac at the end of Mayapple Road and head north to the preserve entrance (found just over the Wilton border in Weston).

Walk along the shaded pathway that leads into the park and bear right on the white trail (designated by a white arrow). Follow the path north to the center of the park and pass the entrance to the salmon-colored trail. On the left is a majestic white pine forest - its uniformity and patterned structure offer a striking contrast to the diversity and sporadic arrangement of the park's majority hardwoods...story in full at the Greenwich TIME.

For more information, visit