Wallace Estate Permanently Protected

Woodbridge, Connecticut:? Today the Town of Woodbridge and the Trust for Public Land announced the protection of the 200-acre Wallace Estate.? The land, which was formerly owned by the estate of Helen M. Clark Wallace, was purchased today by the Town for permanent conservation.

“The protection of the Wallace Estate is a testament to the vision of Woodbridge residents,” said Tim Northrop, project manager with the Trust for Public Land.? “Woodbridge stands out as a community committed to managing growth and protecting open space in order to achieve a higher quality of life.? The Town and the Woodbridge Land Trust have been working for years to create and implement a top-notch open space plan, and their hard work has really paid off.”? The Trust for Public Land negotiated the agreement to purchase the Wallace Estate and managed the community education effort prior to Town Meeting.

Woodbridge First Selectman Rodger Harrison stated, “We are very grateful for the Trust for Public Land’s involvement and interest in helping educate and add credibility to our residents’ understanding of how critically important it is to protect the last and largest remaining parcel in town.”

“The conservation of this beautiful land by the Town of Woodbridge is, for me, a dream come true,” said Thomas Wallace, grandson of Helen M. Clark Wallace.? “It has been in my grandmother’s family since they received it as a grant from the King of England in 1637.? I feel very proud of both my family and of the Town of Woodbridge for fulfilling my grandmother’s dream and grateful to the Trust for Public Land for their assistance.”

“This is something that the Woodbridge Land Trust has been working on for nearly ten years,” explains Bob Gregg, president of the Land Trust.? “We are very happy to see it completed.”? The Land Trust now holds a conservation easement over the Wallace Estate and will be working with the town to manage the property.

The Wepawaug River begins on the 200-acre Wallace Estate in a complex of wetlands and vernal pools and eventually drains into the Wepawaug Reservoir, a public drinking water supply managed by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.? To help maintain the quality of the water in the Reservoir, the Authority made a contribution of $650,000 toward the Town’s purchase of the property in exchange for a conservation easement over the land.

“The protection of this tract of land is a wonderful example of the benefit that can be derived from a partnership.? The future passive public use of the Wallace Estate demonstrates that public drinking water supply protection can be accomplished in cooperation with other local interests,” said Tom Chaplik, vice president of environmental resource and treatment for the Regional Water Authority.

On February 8, residents of Woodbridge voted unanimously at Town Meeting to acquire the Wallace Estate for $4.4 million.? This purchase price was offset by the $650,000 contribution made today by the Regional Water Authority.? In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a grant of $450,000 to the Town of Woodbridge for the purchase, and the funds are expected to arrive within the next several months.

The Wallace Estate includes fields, seasonal ponds, and woodlands, and a number of rare species breed on the property, including spotted, marbled, and four-toed salamanders.? Locally, it connects the Land Trust’s Lodge property with Town owned land to the south, creating more than 350 acres of contiguous protected open space.? An additional 1,700 acres of watershed land owned by Birmingham Utilities and Ansonia connects to the west.

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space.? Since 1972, the Trust has protected more than 1 million acres nationwide, including nearly 40,000 acres in New England.? For more information, contact our New Haven office at (203) 777-7367.