The Preserve Trail Map

NEW! Iterim Trails have been blazed.  Here is the current map for download.

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Old Saybrook Land Trust is as great as the strength of its membership!

Won't you consider joining us? Use the links to Paypal found here and on the home page to join or donate online, or contact us through the Contact page.

June 2, 2014 

Dear Members and Friends:

The main goal of the Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) is to preserve the unique blend of tidal marshes, inland wetlands, and forested uplands that make our town such a beautiful place to live.

The past year has been especially exciting and productive for the acquisition and protection of open space in Old Saybrook. The coming year promises to be no less significant. In fact 2014 will likely be remembered as an historic turning point when town residents made the right decisions to both preserve our environment and preserve our way of life. This year will be remembered for our collective decision to purchase The Preserve, an $8.09 million piece of property, for a $3 million investment. The wisdom of this decision will be realized in the economic benefits of open space – increased property values, increased business activity, increased opportunity for recreation, and the avoidance of significant and endless spending on infrastructure and support services.

Much of our effort during 2013 focused on two important open-space projects: the purchase of 6 acres abutting the Oyster River, and working closely with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) in the effort to purchase and permanently protect The Preserve.

Other successes over the past year include:

  • The first annual awarding of a $500 scholarship to a deserving Old Saybrook High School senior pursuing an interest in the biological and environmental sciences
  • A very well attended Annual Meeting focused on our combined effort with TPL to save The Preserve
  • Several collaborations with Eagle Scout candidates on mutually beneficial environmentally-based projects
  • Numerous OAK activities (our club for K-6 grade youth and their families)
  • A second annual educational and scenic sail on Long Island Sound with Sound Waters
  • An OSLT sponsored kayak paddle trip through South Cove visiting a number of Land Trust properties while viewing wildlife along the way
  • Informative hikes in The Preserve on CT Trails Day and Thanksgiving weekend
  • Ongoing stewardship of OSLT properties, including invasive species eradication efforts
  • Increased communications through local publications, our website, Facebook, town wide mailings, and our new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our effort to purchase the Oyster River property, which began in July, officially closed just prior to our Annual Meeting in March. This property consists of 2 acres of riparian coastal forest, and 4 acres of tidally influenced salt marsh, located in the heart of town. Acquisition of this property provides a starting point for the future protection of adjacent riverfront open space, potentially leading to extensive protection of the Oyster River estuary.

Of course the elephant in the room, and the largest recipient of our collective focus, has been the protection of The Preserve. The Preserve, which lies largely within Old Saybrook, with smaller parcels in Westbrook and Essex, is the last remaining large, unprotected tract of coastal forest between Boston and New York City. This 1,000 acre property features a variety of unique habitats including 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, and the headwaters for the Oyster River, Mud River and Trout Brook.

In 2013, TPL reached an agreement with the current owner, River Sound Development LLC, a division of Lehman Brothers, to purchase the property for $10 million, and recently re-negotiated the price to $8.09 million based on two appraisals.

Recently, Governor Dannel Malloy announced his commitment to secure $3.3 million in state funds to help purchase The Preserve. Our First Selectman, Carl Fortuna, stated that he would honor the $3 million commitment the town has made during past failed purchase attempts, and that a town bond referendum will likely take place in June. TPL is conducting a fundraising campaign to secure the remaining funds.

It’s rare that such an opportunity comes along. In this case we’ve been given a second chance. We must act now. If this property is not protected, it will certainly be developed at some point in the future resulting in higher taxes, aquifer and surface water contamination, and a significant increase in traffic for the town. The estimated cost to the average homeowner of a $3 million bond over 20 years is $25 - $35 per household, per year. For this relatively small sum, we can protect the land and preserve our way of life.

The years that lie ahead will prove critical to the future of land protection in Old Saybrook. As a member of the Land Trust you can have a role in this extraordinary opportunity to determine what our town becomes over time. If you believe in the need to preserve and protect Old Saybrook’s wealth of natural beauty, please consider joining us (or renewing your membership) by responding via the enclosed membership envelope. Other ways to help – give the gift of membership to family and friends, or volunteer your professional services or technical assistance. For more information about OSLT, visit our website, oslt.org; or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/os.land.trust; or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. By whichever means you choose to help – your time, your ideas, or your generosity – you will be making a difference.

Respectfully,

Joe Nochera, President
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Old Saybrook Land Trust