It's About the Land 12-12-2014

December 12, 2014

It's About the Land
TheNorth Branford Land Conservation Trust, Inc.

More than five months have passed since I last wrote about the doings of the NBLCT. In the May 30th edition of the Totoket Times we reported that NBLCT was compiling an inventory of the remaining parcels of quality open space in town. I refer to them as "Critical Choices for Open Space". In future issues of the Totoket Times I plan to write brief, general descriptions of the areas in which these parcels are located calling attention to landscapes and natural attributes worth saving.

We've been looking for land with features such as flowing brooks and waterfalls, forest-covered craggy hill sides, unblemished ridgelines, habitat for rare and endangered species of plants and wildlife. It is land which may be an integral part of a neighborhood, or a metaphorical bridge to other land that is worthy of protection as open space.

One of these places is land located near the northeast coner of town. It runs from the Guilford town line along the high basalt ridge (highest point 720+ feet above sea level) that forms Totoket Mountain, a prominent feature of the landscape. The northwest facing slope of Totoket Mountain is a blaze of color in the fall because it is covered with mixed hardwoods. An oak/hickory forest covers the plateau of the mountain that is interspersed with wetlands stocked with red maple and filled with standing water in the late winter and early spring. Two intermittent water courses flow down the slope through deep ravines formed thousands of years ago as the melting glacier of the last ice age sent huge torrents of water down the slope scouring the softer rock and earth material. Today, water flows through the ravines when wetlands on the mountain fill and overflow. These watercourses drain to Parmalee Brook in Durham. The ridge line is high and scenic, without fowers or other structures that pierce the forest canopy; it is prominently visible from Middletown Avenue (Rt 17) and residential areas to the west.

The Mattabesett Trail, a popular Connecticut Blue-blazed Trail maintained by the Connecticut Forest & Park Association passes through this northeast comer of town and helps define this remote area. Additional hiking trails could be developed connecting with the Mattabesett, which together with the prominence of the basalt ridge, raise the importance of the property for conserwation, passive recreation and scenic purposes.

In future issues look for more descriptions of these "Critical Choice" areas including property that we expect to receive as open space in the near future along the Farm River. Please keep us in mind. You can reach us at North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Inc., P.O. Box 378, North Branford CT 06471 or via email, Info@NBLandTrust.org Our website, still under construction is NBLandTrust.org, but you can visit us on Facebook and see what we are doing.

Otto Schaefer, Secretary - NB Land Conservation Trust, Inc.