Public Invited to Visit Darrow Land on 8/13

In advance of an upcoming vote on the town’s acquisition of the 301-acre Darrow property, the public is invited to see the land on Saturday, August 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The area is a beautiful mix of forest, trails, and open fields with outstanding views of Darrow Pond. It is currently private property and not accessible to the public, but will be opened the morning of August 13 for East Lyme residents to explore. They may walk on their own or join a guided tour leaving each half hour between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.

Well-behaved dogs will be allowed but must be leashed. To reach the Darrow land, take Route 161 north from town, turn left on Mostowy Road, and follow the signs to the entrance of the property. Parking will be available, but visitors are encouraged to carpool.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, and the Town of East Lyme announced in May that the town has an opportunity to purchase the Darrow property for conservation, recreation, and drinking water storage and protection. The land is adjacent to the town’s Aquifer Protection Area, and its protection will help safeguard clean drinking water for East Lyme.

Art Carlson, Chairman of the Conservation of Natural Resources Committee, said, “I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to see this scenic parcel of open space. Besides being an important component to all the work we’re doing to secure our water supply for the long run, it’s a great area for walking and wildlife viewing.”

Under its agreement with the landowner, Webster Bank, TPL has until October 31, 2011 to complete the purchase of the property. If voters approve the purchase at an upcoming referendum in late August or early September, the town will become the permanent owner of the land.

The Darrow property was once slated to become an 18-hole golf course and country club facility. It was approved most recently for the construction of a 600-unit active adult community, with a mix of single-family detached, multi-family, and condominium units. The Darrow property is nestled between 3,558 acres of existing open space including Camp Pattagansett, the Yale Sheffield Scientific School, and Nehantic State Forest.

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The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization working to conserve land for people to enjoy as working landscapes, parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected more than 6,000 acres of open space, watershed land, working farms and forestland, and historic resources in 40 communities across Connecticut.