Summer Hill Near Hammonasset Reservoir Conserved
The Summer Hill property in North Madison, Conn. has been permanently protected, The Trust for Public Land and the Madison Land Conservation Trust announced today. The two organizations raised enough funds to purchase the 77-acre former Bauermeister homestead near the Hammonasset Reservoir, along with its important watershed and habitat resources.
The property now forms the southern buffer of a greenbelt of protected land extending from northern Madison into Killingworth and Haddam. The greenbelt protects water quality of the Hammonasset Reservoir and River. The conservation of Summer Hill extends significant wildlife habitat and will help preserve Madison's rural character. Other protected lands nearby include South Central Regional Water Authority land, state conservation areas, and lands protected by the Madison Land Conservation Trust (MLCT). MLCT asked The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, to assist with the conservation transaction and the public and private fundraising for the property.
"The long legacy of Summer Hill as a Madison natural area will now endure forever," said Alicia Betty, Project Manager and Director of Philanthropy for TPL in Conn. "We are especially grateful to over 100 individual donors and several key foundations who stepped forward to ensure Summer Hill would be protected. The partnership between the Madison Land Conservation Trust, TPL and a hard-working volunteer campaign committee has made this project a success. This was only possible through the participation of many people to achieve a common conservation vision. Thank you to all who helped."
Summer Hill's diverse habitats are situated in its forests, wetlands, and vernal pools. Rocky outcrops and ledges add to its scenic value along Connecticut's densely developed coast. MLCT will own and manage the Summer Hill property, opening the few existing trails to the public for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife observation.
"Anyone who has driven on Summer Hill Road north of Route 80 knows the almost storybook flavor of the area. MLCT is proud to have the opportunity to save that rural character by taking ownership of, and responsibility for, the 77-acre parcel that serves as a gateway to the extended beauty of Summer Hill Road. We thank all those generous and forward-looking donors who supported us in saving this land for future generations, " remarked Diana Insolio, President of the Madison Land Conservation Trust.
The purchase price of the land was $1,450,000. In addition to private funds raised for the purchase, TPL and MLCT received a Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program grant of $500,000. In order to complete the purchase on deadline, the MLCT obtained bridge funding and will continue fundraising to repay the loan by early 2012.
"The Trust for Public Land and the Madison Land Conservation Trust are to be commended for their unparalleled vision and commitment to preserving Summer Hill," said state Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), who is Senate Chairman of the legislature's Environment Committee. "Non-profit groups are working hand-in-hand with the legislature to secure open space grants for properties such as this, and piece by piece we are saving some of Connecticut's most scenic vistas. I'm proud to have successfully advocated for such a grant on behalf of the Bauermeister property and Summer Hill."
Deb Heinrich, Former State Representative commented, "Once again, a great partnership yields a great result, an additional 77 acres protected in Madison. Well done to the Madison Land Conservation Trust and The Trust for Public Land. I am pleased that the State was also able to assist in this effort."
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization, which works with partners and communities to conserve land for people to enjoy as working landscapes, parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has conserved nearly 3 million acres nationwide and more than 6,000 acres of open spaces, watershed lands, working farms and forests, and historic resources across Connecticut.
Founded in 1964, the Madison Land Conservation Trust (MLCT) was one of the first Land Trusts, both in Connecticut and the nation. MLCT engages in and otherwise promotes for the benefit of the general public, the preservation of natural resources of the Town of Madison, including water resources, marshland, swamp, woodland and open spaces, and the plant and animal life therein and the preservation of unique historic and scenic sites. Visit www.madisonlandtrust.org.