Trust for Public Land Announces Protection of over 200 acres of Copps Brook

Property will feature public access to trails and will preserve drinking water supply for Stonington residents

June 6, 2022
STONINGTON, Conn.

Trust for Public Land and partners announce today the conservation of 230 acres along Copps Brook in Stonington. 

“The land along Copps Brook has been an important part of Stonington’s history, from agriculture to recreation to water quality, and to see this property permanently protected is a great benefit to the community,” said Walker Holmes, AVP and Connecticut State Director for Trust for Public Land. “Future generations will forever be able to hike these trails, threatened New England wildlife will have a permanent safe haven, and the entire community can count on safe drinking water.” 

When the property came on the market less than two years ago, Avalonia Land Conservancy, residents, and Stonington’s First Selectman reached out to Trust for Public Land (TPL), to help permanently protect the property. TPL worked with Town officials, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Avalonia Land Conservancy (ALC), and Aquarion Water Company (AWC) to preserve public recreation access, wildlife habitat, and the drinking water supply for the Town. 

“This property has been a conservation priority for the Town for decades. We are so grateful to have been a part of this incredible partnership,” said First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough. “We hope this property will be a source of mental and physical health benefits for generations to come.” 

Historically used for grazing, horse trails, and timber for over 300 years, these 230 acres are an important refuge for threatened New England wildlife, a source of drinking water for a portion of the town, and a beloved network of trails. The forest contains a mosaic of shrublands, tall oaks and hickories, and the serene Copps Brook which flows directly into Aquarion’s drinking water reservoir. Public hiking trails will also allow residents and visitors access to the brook. 

Approximately 100 acres of the property will be added to the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge focused on shrubland and young forest habitat across New York and New England.  USFWS will own and manage the land for public access, bow hunting, fishing, recreation, and all other approved uses. 

The remaining acreage will be owned and conserved by Avalonia Land Conservancy, a land trust in southeastern Connecticut with over 4,000 acres preserved in perpetuity for the benefit of people and wildlife.  

“Preserving this land will provide habitat for wildlife, protect clean water, and provide opportunities for people of all ages to get outside and explore,” said Terri Eickel, Director of Development and Programs for Avalonia Land Conservancy. “We are so grateful to partner with so many great organizations to save this critically important piece of open space.” 

“We are very happy to be part of the team preserving this important parcel of land,” said Aquarion President Donald Morrissey.  “The protection of these 200-plus acres will not only conserve a vital local habitat, it will also help ensure access to high-quality drinking water for southeastern Connecticut families for decades to come.” 

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appreciates all the hard work of the many partners that worked cooperatively to conserve this important wildlife habitat,” said Rick Potvin, Refuge Manager. “We look forward to welcoming the American people to the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge.” 

About Trust for Public Land 

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org