Location: Cheshire / Prospect town line
Acquisitions by: Town of Cheshire, State of Connecticut, Cheshire Land Trust 1970 - 1993 & 2015
Acreage: 445 acres
Current Use: Habitat protection, forest management, watershed protection and passive recreation.
Public Access: Yes
History: CLT's first acquisition was a gift of Helen Russell, 40 acres of mountainous forested property she bequeathed to the Trust in 1970. (This property was first offered to the town but was declined) This set the table for ridge top protection efforts. This was followed by the trust's strong support for the town's acquisition of Roaring Brook Falls in 1978. In 1979 CLT member Linda Carmichael donated Nettleton's Ravine, a 14 acre property characterized by a deep ravine with rain forest-like flora and fauna populations. This fragile environment is under careful protection of the trust and public access is limited. The final piece of CLT ridge property is the 24 acre Thomas Pool Memorial donated by Percy Goodsell in 1981. This property is off the Blue Trail and features rocky outcrops, steep slopes and beautiful views of Cheshire and the Hanging Hills of Meriden. In 2015 the Trust welcomed the donation of 4.7 acres known as Inverness Glen. This property provides a direct connection to the Russell property. The land is rugged forest punctuated by a deep ravine cut by a winding stream that ultimately reaches Willow brook. Willow brook parallels the Canal Line Linear Trail.
The town embarked on a community supported program of land acquisition in 1986. Much of the early acquisitions focused on Propect Ridge where 264 acres have been purchased by town and state funds.These properties together with the 85 acres of Roaring Brook Falls represent a significant effort towards the preservation of irreplaceable natural resources.
Description: Ridge top properties forested by dense stands of hardwoods including beech, red oak, white oak, sugar maple, black cherry, hemlock, white pine, mountain laurel and more. The forests are populated by deer, raccoons, squirrels, red fox, coyote,fisher, bobcat, black bear and an occasional moose. The diversity of wildlife is impressive. Rocky outcrops reveal the beautiful vistas to the north, south and east.
The Quinnipiac (Blue) Trail connects the public and private properties that make up this stunning landform. One of the most noteworthy places along the trail is Roaring Brook Falls the state's highest single drop waterfall (80 feet). A list of the ridge properties follows.
Land Trust Properties - 83.7 Acres ( highlighted in green on map )
- Russell Family Memorial - 40 acres
- Clark - Blue Trail Access - 1 acre
- Nettleton's Ravine - 14 acres
- Tom Pool - 24 acres
- Inverness Glen - 4.7 acres
Town / State Properties - 361 acres ( highlighted in pink on map )
- Roaring Brook - 85 acres
- Bens Homestead - 56 acres (Abutts CLT's Tom Pool Preserve)
- Clark - Nettleton's Ravine & Naugatuck State Forest - 111 acres
- Puchalski - 109 acres - 2015
The Puchalski property totals 109 acres on the ridgeline along the Cheshire-Prospect town line. Town ownership helps protect the ridgeline and its diverse wildlife, forests, and wetlands. The mountainous property borders the Roaring Brook open space property to the south and the Ben’s Homestead property to the north. The town placed a kiosk with information about the property at the intersection of Mountain and Higgins roads.
The land includes cliff face and other rocky features that kept it from being widely developed. Three houseswere developed along Mountain Rd. which include features built by the Puchalskis or their predecessors including a stone-lined pond.
The Quinnipiac Trail, part of the statewide blue-blazed trail system, runs along the top of the ridge. The town may add other trails in the future. Owning the land creates a line of open space properties running along the town’s western border.
Thanks to the generosity of Whitney & Lori Watts and Chris Baillie, donors of a 4.7 acre property on Inverness Court, the Trust now has a direct connection to the 40 acre Russell Family Preserve it abuts along its westerly reach from Inverness Court. The area has been named “Inverness Glen”. A glen is a hollow or valley (traversed by a stream or river); a steep narrow-sided valley. This property certainly meets that descriptive name. The property has a narrow frontage along Inverness Court where a stream crosses under the road on its decent to Willow brook. The densely forested hilly terrain widens as it reaches to the Russell property. This property is part of a 171 connected acres owned by the state, town and CLT.
The property connects with both the Cheshire Land Trust’s Russell Family Memorial property and a portion of the Naugatuck State Forest near the southern end of Prospect Ridge. Ownership and stewardship of this land by the CLT allows for easier access to the Russell Property from Inverness Court, and will provides opportunities for improving public access to the Quinnipiac Blue Trail which runs along the ridge and through a portion of the Russell Property.
The property’s acquisition is another great example of co-operative efforts (in this case, adjacent parcels owned by the State and the CLT) to protect greenspaces and greenways in Cheshire.
A small unnamed stream runs through the lower (eastern) portion of the 4.7-acre property. The stream cuts through a small ravine immediately adjacent to Inverness Court. The western portion of the property slopes upwards, first gently, then more steeply where it joins the Russell property. A portion of this area contains sloped wetlands, and is somewhat rocky. The entire property is dominated by mixed hardwoods, especially oak, maple, tulip poplar, and ash. The wetland areas contain some spicebush; Christmas fern is scattered throughout the forest floor. Some of the oak and tulip poplars in the western portion of the parcel are rather large and well formed. This part of the property also has evidence of a historic micro-burst or wind storm that blew down several mature trees, up-rooting them. The resulting deadwood, or “coarse woody debris” can be valuable for small mammal and amphibian habitat.
A gift from Whitney & Lori Watts & Chris Baillie - Dec. 2015