It's About the Land 8-23-2016

Published in the Totoket Times, 9-23-2016

August 23, 2016

North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Incorporated


It’s About the Land


    Although the North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Inc. was founded in 1968, the organization experienced a period of relative dormancy from the late 1970’s through 2010. Membership in NBLCT had declined to just a few individuals, kept alive by its president, Edmund Pantani, and four others. After Ed Pantani died, I received a call asking if I would help resuscitate the organization. I met with the four and together a plan was formulated with the object of drawing in more residents of the town who would be active participants in NBLCT.

   After much procrastination, I wrote a short piece which was published in the Totoket Times about how the NBLCT came to be and called attention to the fact that the organization met on the first Wednesday of each month at the Atwater Library. Forgetting that I had written the article, and almost forgetting (my wife had to remind me) that we had a meeting one Wednesday evening approaching 6 years ago, pulling into the library parking lot I was surprised at the number of cars. Thinking that I had forgotten to reserve the community room and another organization had taken it, that initial thought was mistaken when to my astonishment, it was a turn-out for a land trust meeting.

   Since that time NBLCT has grown as an organization. It continues to hold meetings which are open to the public the first Wednesday of each month at the Atwater Library. It has an active land stewardship committee headed by a professional forester, an investment committee to manage NBLCT’s financial resources, and other committees which are formed to address various issues coming before the board of directors. The land stewardship committee’s volunteers monitor and mark the boundaries of its 53 parcels comprising 231 acres of land. The investment committee monitors the performance of NBLCT’s investments while ad hoc committees organize public events sponsored or co-sponsored by NBLCT working with the town’s recreation department in scheduling and leading hikes on trails on NBLCT property, town parkland and land of the Regional Water Authority.

   In the very near future NBLCT will receive two parcels of land along the Farm River. One is 26+ acres in Northford and the other is 1.26 acres in North Branford on the east side of the Farm River off Mill Road. Both parcels are portions of larger tracts which were subdivided into residential building lots. Pursuant to planning and zoning regulations, about 10% of the subdivided land area must be kept as open space. Members of the land trust’s directors were actively involved in negotiating the location, terms and conditions of the transfer of the open space land to NBLCT.  

   Now we have reached a plateau. We have about 67 memberships, which include individual or family memberships. Of the 67 memberships, we have about 15 people who volunteer their time serving on the board of directors and/or as officers of the corporation, or who serve on various committees. We have gained some new members while others have fallen out. So, dear reader, you guessed right; this is a call for new members, new blood, fresh ideas, and a renewed sense of urgency for the protection of this town’s open land. We want you as a member. We want you as an active participant in all that we do.

   We hope to see you at one of our meetings and/or hikes. There will be announcements published in the Totoket Times of the date, time and location of the family hikes and other NBLCT events. So keep an eye out.

Otto Schaefer, Secretary

North Branford Land Conservation Trust, Incorporated