Grant Awarded for Hunt Hill Farm (CT)

NEW MILFORD, Connecticut, 4/7/2003: Today, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a $411,500 award from its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program to the Town of New Milford. The grant will be applied towards the town’s purchase of 82-acre Hunt Hill Farm on Upland Road. The award was hailed by Weantinoge Heritage and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), which have been working together to protect the land.

“This grant marks a major step forward in the campaign to permanently protect Hunt Hill Farm from development,” said Whitney Hatch, acting Connecticut director for the Trust for Public Land. “Over the past five years, thanks to the strong support of Governor Rowland and the General Assembly, the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program has helped conserve nearly 16,000 acres through more than 200 projects in communities across the state.”

“We’re delighted that this grant has been approved, because it is the single largest source of funding for the campaign to save Hunt Hill Farm. This property is a top priority for protection because of its location within a corridor of protected land, and will provide a wonderful legacy for the people of New Milford,” said Thomas McGowan, executive director of Weantinoge Heritage, Inc.

Last year, TPL began working with Weantinoge Heritage, the Town of New Milford, and Hunt Hill Farm’s longtime owners, Skitch and Ruth Henderson, to protect the open space portion of their farm. TPL negotiated an agreement to purchase 82 acres for $823,000, and the Town of New Milford made a lead commitment of $250,000 from its Land Acquisition Reserve Fund towards the purchase. With today’s announcement of a $411,500 grant from DEP, more than three-quarters of the needed funds have been assembled. To close the funding gap, TPL and Weantinoge Heritage plan to launch a private fundraising campaign this spring.

New York Pops founder and artistic director Skitch Henderson and his wife Ruth have lived on Hunt Hill Farm for more than 30 years. The farm includes rolling fields and woodlands and also houses their Silo Store, Gallery and Cooking School in several historic buildings. –

Offering panoramic views of the surrounding hills, the farm lies adjacent to roughly 400 acres of conservation land and provides habitat for several declining species of grassland nesting birds, including bobolinks and meadowlarks. Weantinoge Heritage, Inc. is one of the oldest land trusts in Connecticut and holds in preserve the largest total acreage of any regional land trust in the state.

A nonprofit organization, Weantinoge protects over 5,400 acres of woodland, farmland and natural areas in Litchfield County and its environs. “Weantinoge” means homeland in the language of the native people’s of the New Milford area. In 1966, this name was chosen by our founders who sought to protect the unspoiled open spaces so vital to our future. It is Weantinoge Heritage’s mission to protect land in its natural state to retain the beauty of our countryside.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 3,000 acres in Connecticut. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact us at (203) 777-7367.