Welcome to the Old Saybrook Land Trust
Old Saybrook, with its wealth of natural resources, is a beautiful place to live and to visit. The estuary of the Connecticut River has been both nationally and internationally recognized for its ecological significance, provides habitat for a number of rare and endangered species and is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl, as well as a critical spawning area for fish. Rich tidal wetlands fringe the town’s southern boundary along Long Island Sound, with two tidal river systems providing additional significant habitat. No less important are the forested uplands of the town, a complex of rocky outcrops interspersed with rich inland wetland habitat.
The Old Saybrook Land Trust is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, 100% volunteer-run organization. Our mission is to preserve open space and protect the town's valuable natural resources for the benefit of the general public.
Land Trust News
Bob Lorenz photo
Helps Protect the Preserve - This Week!
The Effort to Preserve the 1,000 Acre Forest faces a critical turning point this week, July 7 and 8.
On July 7, 10 am on the Town Green, there will be a press conference with Senator Blumenthal, the Lt. Governor, Representative Phil Miller, First Selectman Carl Fortuna and others to discuss the permanent conservation of this property. National, state and town officials, citizen activists and environmental organizations have all come to agree that this property has importance well beyond the three towns that are directly faced with the issue of its preservation.
Old Saybrook voters will finally have a say in whether this environmentally important, topographically unique and beautiful property becomes accessible to all in its' natural state, or remains in private hands under threat of development. The question is whether to authorize a $3 million bond as the town's portion of the purchase price for 930 acres of the Preserve (926 in Old Saybrook, 4 in Westbrook to serve as an access point). The total purchase price is $8.09 million. The state has committed $3.3 million, The Trust for Public Land will bring private donations to the table, the town of Essex and the Essex Land Trust will purchase the 70 acres in Essex.
The property would be permanently protected and used for passive recreation such as hiking, birding, environmental education, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. The town and the state would jointly own the 930 acres, like a married couple - each with a 50% interest in the whole property.
Part of the state's contribution would be used to create a stewardship fund for ongoing property management and improvements required to facilitate public access. The state will also provide resources such as experts in sustainable forestry, wildlife management and environmental design.
A $3 million bond will cost the average taxpayer about $26 per year for 20 years. A residential development on the property would cost the town exponentially more - forever.
The opportunity to purchase the property in a cooperative partnership with the state, combined with private funds raised by the Trust for Public Land, will likely not present itself again. Please come out to vote and support the 1,000 acre forest. Future generations will thank you for your foresight.
For information about The Preserve, the history of efforts to both protect and develop it, and why it is so vital to protect these 1,000 acres forever, visit preserve1000acres.com.
Annual Membership Drive
New Property Purchase
The OSLT recently closed on a 6-acre parcel along the Oyster River. Stewardship work is ongoing, stay tuned for an introduction to this exciting purchase. Photo by Bob Lorenz.
Stewardship Work Parties
The OSLT offers a great South Cove kayak paddle August 9, 2014 (raindate August 10). Please RVSP as we have to limit the group to 20 due to parking issues. Paddlers will park and launch from the end of Clinton Avenue off of Maple Avenue in Old Saybrook. We will meet at 8:30 am, for a 9 to 11 am paddle. Judy Preston and Cathy Malin will lead the excursion and provide information about the marsh, plant life, and some of the OSLT properties visible from the water. Please RVSP to Cathy Malin,
. Carpooling is recommended. Participants need their own kayak and life vest.
Field notes from OSLT's "Nature Guy" and friends
On a recent birding trip to our newest property on the Oyster River, more than 30 bird species were spotted, including 60 glossy ibis.
Two snakes were encountered on a Preserve hike with boy scouts: an eastern ribbon and a northern black racer. According to Chris Cryder, these are two great finds. The racer is declining in numbers due to habitat fragmentation and the ribbon snake is a Species of Special Concern, due to loss of wet sedge meadow habitat throughout the state. These two types of snakes depend on unfragmented habitat.
January 2014 Notable Sightings
1/5 was our Christmas Bird Count-worst weather we have ever had in 14 years of doing this but we still got 75 species in freezing rain ,fog and sleet. Lots of Eagles everywhere and a great collection of ducks in South Cove, including Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, hundreds of Gadwall and Ruddy Ducks (the little guys with the pointy tails).
1/15 Seals are back! 16 today seen on the rocks at Town Beach. They should be there from now on, any sunny day at low tide. Eagles are everywhere, the best winter in years to see them. Great ducks still in South Cove. A very uncommon Red-Necked Grebe (not a Red-Neck Grebe that I posted once!) was seen right in front of mini –golf at the Point. Snowy Owls are still in around. One has regularly been seen at the boat ramp on Smith Neck Road in Old Lyme , returning to roost on one of the osprey platforms late afternoons.
November/December 2013 Notable Bird Sightings
November 2013 Notable Sightings
11/2- PEREGRINE FALCON- under Baldwin Bridge. I haven’t seen these guys in a while but I haven’t really looked. I know they were around all last winter into the late spring.
11/2- NORTHERN GANNETT- from Harvey’s Beach. Very distant views. Saw them again 11/3. They should be around now for awhile. They are following the large migrating schools of menhaden that are moving through the Sound. In years past, I have seen 75-100 at a time, very close to our shore in Old Saybrook, flying in lines very similar to the flight patterns of Pelicans .
11/3- JUNCO- First of season at Gardiner’s Landing. - HERMIT THRUSH-also at Gardiner’s Landing, thanks to Kristofer Rowe.
Others-GOLDEN-EYE, BRANT, GREEN-WINGED TEAL all seen from South Cove Causeway.
11/9-NORTHERN GANNETT- about 75 seen very far out at Town Beach.
11/10- Hundreds of ducks at South Cove, best seen at low tide from the public access at the end of Atlantic Ave. 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL, 30 GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, etc.
11/15-12/7-Great collection of ducks at Maynard’s pond today(Ingham Hill Road)-EURASIAN WIGEON(Photo by Hank Golet), AM. WIGEON,LESSER SCAUP,RUDDY DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, RING-NECK DUCK, GADWALL,PIED-BILLED GREBE, AM. COOT, BLACK DUCK, MALLARD. Public parking is available right across from Maynard’s Greenhouses on Ingham Hill Road. Walk back towards McDonalds and follow the power lines in to the back of the pond for better views. (please go quietly so you don’t flush them-This time of year all birds are trying to conserve their energy reserves.)
Rare birds presently nearby in CT.
12/8 SNOWY OWLS are being found all over New England. One was seen 2 weeks ago in Old Lyme and Old Saybrook and just this weekend one was spotted along Rt 9 in Essex. There are 1-2 birds at Hammonasett. Keep an eye out for these fantastic birds.(Photo by Hank Golet)
12/8 An extremely rare bird from South America, the FORK TAILED FLYCATCHER, is presently at the Hadlyme Ferry Landing Parking Lot adjacent to Gillette Castle. Some theorize that these rare birds sometimes show up because their “magnetic compasses” flip 180 degrees. (Photo by Anders Ogren)
Click here to see the monthly list of the birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, plants and other living things that live in or pass through Old Saybrook, and where to spot them.