Groups hope to protect forest land

A capacity crowd filled the Community Room at the Weston Public Library last week to hear plans designed to save more than 350 acres of unprotected forest land spanning Weston and Wilton.

Aspetuck Land Trust and the Wilton Land Conservation Trust designated the land as The Weston-Wilton Forest Block, which is adjacent to more than 2,100 acres of land that is already protected.

The Weston-Wilton Forest Block lands are considered rare and resilient habitat, critical to the long-term survival of native Connecticut species threatened by the effects of climate change and fragmentation from residential and commercial development, according to David Brant, executive director of Aspetuck Land Trust.

“We want to preserve this critical habitat by protecting and connecting more land and involving individual landowners in the effort,” Brant said. To that end, the evening program included speakers discussing ways landowners could protect and improve the environment through stewardship measures like organic land care, waterside buffers and pollinator gardens.

Donna Merrill, executive director of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust, told The Bulletin, “Our Pollinator Pathway now extends between this forest block and Devil’s Den and provides us an opportunity to reach out to those landowners to take care of their property in a way that is healthy for people and wildlife.” The Pollinator Pathway is an effort among several organizations in Wilton to encourage property owners to consider using native plants in their landscaping plans to support the bees, birds, and butterflies that pollinate many plants and crops.

A number of the parcels in the forest block are near the now-abandoned Old Two Rod Highway. “These are parcels if the landowner had an interest in protecting in any way, the land trusts are here to be approached,” Merrill said. The land trusts, she said, would like to reduce the amount of fragmentation among protected lands. They are not, she emphasized, looking to take anyone’s land.

Don Hyman, president of Aspetuck Land Trust, put it this way at the meeting.

“As has been said before by land conservation activists in the past, land like this is forever yours or forever gone.”

Any Wilton landowners who would like advice on how to protect the environmental integrity of their land may contact the Wilton Land Conservation Trust by emailing