The Preserve

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The Preserve, CT
Photo credit: 
Robert Lorenz

Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook as The Preserve, the woodland also plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound.

But despite its name, the land still faces the threat of development. Since 1998, conservationists and community members have worked to protect the woods from a variety of proposed projects-including plans for 200 homes and an 18-hole golf course.

In June 2013, The Trust for Public Land reached an agreement with River Sound Development, LLC, to purchase The Preserve. Under the agreement, we have until June 2014 to raise between $10 million and $11 million in public and private funds to acquire the property and cover stewardship and costs. If we are successful, this, and, the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, will be permanently protected from future development and connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland—including miles of trails—providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and wildlife.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects. You’ll find some of our favorite places on the map below.