Statement From The Trust for Public Land on Preserving Deer Lake Property

The below is a statement from AVP and Connecticut State Director, Walker Holmes, on the ongoing discussions around the sale and protection of the Deer Lake Camp in Killingworth.  

“The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a 501c3 non-profit conservation organization with a mission of connecting all people to the outdoors. We work with communities locally across the country to protect open space for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone. TPL routinely collaborates with communities to help them achieve their own open space and park needs, often times working with local, state and federal agencies, nonprofit partners, foundations, and private individuals to procure the funding to purchase land and protect the places that matter most. 

“The property at 101 Paper Mill Road is an incredible geological wonder and a place that is dear to people far and wide, and especially to the people of Killingworth. At the behest of the community, TPL made an offer to the CT Yankee Council to purchase Deer Lake Camp as a way of preserving the property for the benefit of the public. TPL worked in good faith with the Council, and spent significant time and money toward the effort. As is standard practice, we commissioned an appraisal of the 255-acre property and subsequently made an offer to the CT Yankee Council in the amount of the full fair market value as determined by the appraisal. TPL always adheres to the Land Trust Standards and Practices of the Land Trust Alliance and strives to negotiate in a manner that is fair, trustworthy, informed, and creative.    

“The appraisal is a key element in any Trust for Public Land-assisted conservation transaction. An appraisal establishes the market value of a property for public agencies, and it allows The Trust for Public Land to make an informed decision concerning the value of the property to avoid conferring a private benefit (as that term is used under U.S. tax law) on a landowner. It is in the best interest of TPL, the involved public agencies, and the general public that appraisals be performed by qualified appraisers, in conformance with the appropriate standards and methodologies, and based upon the best data suggesting value, with rigorous review of the final results.  

“As such, we cannot put our own organization and our non-profit status at risk by deviating from our process and our integrity. Once we have confirmation from the CT Yankee Council that they are indeed willing to consider other offers until the end of March, we will continue to conduct due diligence in support of our efforts to secure the property. We stand ready to continue negotiations and will work with our partners, the Town of Killingworth, Pathfinders, Inc., Killingworth Land Trust, Connecticut Forest and Parks Association, Save the Sound, Audubon Connecticut, elected officials, and with the current landowner or subsequent landowner to find a way to protect Deer Lake.” 

Pathfinders Inc., a local 501(c)3 non-profit, stands with TPL in its effort to conserve Deer Lake and convey it to a suitable buyer. Pathfinders will assist TPL throughout this process. 

According to Town of Killingworth, First Selectman Nancy Gorski, “Killingworth still has the opportunity to create an interconnected network of open space and greenways throughout the town. Deer Lake is an integral piece of our town and we are working closely with TPL to ensure it stays green and provides the benefit of outdoor access for all.” 

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit