Mather Meadows Land Protected (CT)
DARIEN, Connecticut, 3/31/03: The Land Trust of Darien and the Trust for Public Land announced today that the first six acres of the historic Mather Meadows property have been permanently protected as open space. The property is located at the intersection of Stephen Mather and Brookside Roads and sits directly across the street from Darien’s only National Historic Landmark, the 1778 Mather Homestead. With help from TPL, The Land Trust of Darien purchased the property today from the McPherson family for $2.635 million.
A small portion of the land, just over one acre, was immediately resold to adjoining landowners. This land will be protected from development with permanent conservation easements. The Land Trust of Darien will own and manage the remaining 4.6 acres as open space.
This purchase is the first phase in a larger land conservation project. The two organizations plan to complete the project this fall by purchasing an additional three acres from the McPherson family for $1.165 million.
“It is very rewarding to see that when we work together, our community can accomplish so much,” remarked Jay Schutts, former president of Darien Land Trust. “The land trusts, Town, State, McPherson family, and more than 600 supporters came together as a team to preserve these beautiful meadows for Darien. What a success!”
“It has been a great pleasure to work with The Land Trust of Darien, local and state officials, and residents to save this special property,” said Alicia Betty, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “Mather Meadows has been a defining landscape in Darien for hundreds of years, and thanks to everyone’s hard work, we are well on our way to ensuring that this will remain true for generations to come.”
Funding for today’s purchase came from private sources ($1,619,000), the Department of Environmental Protection ($950,000), and the Town of Darien ($66,000).
Funding for the next phase will be provided by private donations ($631,500), the Department of Environmental Protection ($500,500), and the Town ($34,000).
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported this landmark project,” said Susan Cheswick Brewer, campaign co-chair. “Working together with the Trust for Public Land, we have secured more than $2 million from private sources—an incredible outpouring of community support. We are also grateful to the McPherson family for agreeing to sell the property for approximately $500,000 less than its appraised value. Over the next several months, we will be collecting final pledges and gifts in preparation for the purchase of the remaining three acres.”
“The Mather Meadows project demonstrates that when we find the right property and get our message out effectively, the community responds with enthusiasm,” said Bruce Orr, campaign co-chair. “And we could not have succeeded without the Trust for Public Land, which helped us through both the negotiations and the fundraising campaign, and gave us the confidence to move forward in these uncertain times.”
Donations can be sent to The Land Trust of Darien, P.O. Box 1074, Darien, CT 06820. For more information, contact Jay Shutts at (203) 655-8700 or Mary Nemerov at (203) 777-7367 ext. 4. All contributions are tax-deductible.
“The Town of Darien is honored to be part of this historic acquisition, which will benefit the entire community and area,” said First Selectman Bob Harrell. “I congratulate The Land Trust of Darien and the Trust for Public Land for their outstanding job presenting this project to the public. I am also grateful to Commissioner Rocque and the Department of Environmental Protection for their support. The purchase of open space, I believe, is one of the most worthwhile things we can do for the future.”
“The DEP is proud to share in the protection and preservation of the Mather Meadows property,” said DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque, Jr. “This acquisition truly demonstrates the value of partnerships as we continue to further efforts to protect open space statewide. Preservation of this unique and historically significant property is an investment in our future and its acquisition will help to protect this property as it stands today for future generations to enjoy.”
Mather Meadows is made up of two parcels located near the border of Darien, New Canaan, and Norwalk. These scenic meadows along the Goodwives River and Mather Pond contain numerous species of wild flowers and grasses, dotted with specimen trees. The property is located between two other parcels of conservation land owned by the Darien Land Trust, creating a half-mile greenway.
“The McPherson family is very grateful to the many people and different organizations that worked so hard to make the preservation of the Mather Meadows a reality,” said Steve MacPherson. “The partnership between The Land Trust of Darien and the Trust for Public Land provided the leadership needed to raise the necessary funds. With the generous support of the State, the Town, the neighbors, and town residents, the Meadows will remain in their current condition for generations to come. As a family we were delighted to contribute to the effort, and we look forward to an ongoing relationship with The Land Trust of Darien in maintaining the four corners of Stephen Mather and Brookside Roads as the well-known landmark that they have become to the residents of Darien, New Canaan and West Norwalk.”
Mather Meadows borders Darien’s only National Historic Landmark, the Mather Homestead, which was built in 1778 by Deacon Joseph Mather. Preservation of this local historic property is also important from a national perspective, because Stephen Mather, grandson of Deacon Joseph, was the founder of the National Park Service and helped to double the number of National Parks during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of the Interior from 1915-1929.
The primary goal of The Land Trust of Darien, Inc. is to preserve and protect open space in Darien. Preservation of open space benefits our community by adding to quality-of-life values for the residents of our town, including the preservation of its rural character. 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 or visit www.tpl.org/connecticut.
Note to editors: For an electronic photograph or map of the property, contact Erin Rowland at (617) 367-6300 x321.