LAND & BUILDING

46 acres donated to OL Conservation Trust

Land will be used to create Nature Preserve on the Lieutenant River

Forty-six acres of scenic forest on the Lieutenant River have been donated to the Old Lyme Conservation Trust by local residents who cherished it for two generations.

An aerial view of the land donated to the Old Lyme Conservation Trust (Robert Perron photo)

The land donated by John Lohmann of Old Lyme, the Twining Family Trust, and Edith Buck of Essex has 2,000 feet of frontage on the Lieutenant River, an important tributary of the Connecticut River.  The landowners also donated a conservation easement on the property to The Nature Conservancy.  (See map for exact location of the donated land.)

The land is located on the west side of the Lieutenant River at the confluence of its two branches Ė one flowing south, one flowing southwest from Rogerís Lake.

"This is a beautiful and environmentally pivotal piece of land in a priority area for us, so we are just thrilled," said Nathan Frohling, who is Geoffrey C. Hughes director of The Nature Conservancy's Lower Connecticut River Program. "This is the result of local activists with real conservation vision, and we are very pleased to work with the Old Lyme Conservation Trust to protect this land."

The land is less than half a mile south of 56 acres that The Nature Conservancy purchased from the family of renowned ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson in 2002.  Between the two properties lie other, smaller parcels protected by conservation easements.

"Preserving this property began over 40 years ago, when John Lohmann literally stopped the bulldozers in their tracks," said Alex Twining, whose family has lived across the Lieutenant River from the land since the1920s.  When a developer started to cut an access road into the forest in the early 1960s, Lohmann bought the property with the late Kinsley Twining and Edith Buck Ė Alex Twiningís father and aunt, respectively.

Both Lohmann and Kinsley Twining served on the board of the Old Lyme Conservation Trust and have been active in conservation in Old Lyme for decades.  Kinsley Twining worked for years to find a way to conserve the property.  In his fatherís later years, Alex worked with Essex attorney Campbell Hudson to make his fatherís dream into a reality.

"My father would be happy to know that this property is now saved forever and available for all to enjoy," Twining said.

Twining recommends a hike to the top of the hill where a steep cliff creates a panoramic view over the treetops of the Connecticut River from Essex to Long Island Sound.  A hike over the next ridge to the east provides great views of the Lieutenant River.

The Lieutenant River features an array of tidal marsh habitat and flows out near the north end of Great Island Marsh, a 1,000-acre marsh at the mouth of the Connecticut River.  In recent years, the Conservancy has worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove the invasive common reed Phragmites, and restore the riverís marshes.

"The Lieutenant River has a diverse fish community, including significant migratory species," said Department of Environmental Protection Fisheries Biologist Stephen R. Gephard.  "It has a significant run of alewives, and the potential for one of the largest alewife runs in the state, when all the fishways are constructed."

Editorís Note:  The Nature Conservancy is an international, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of plants, animals, and natural communities through the protection of the land and water these species need for survival.  The Connecticut Chapter has protected more than 45,000 acres, maintains 55 local nature preserves, and currently has 21,000 members.  Visit www.nature.org for more information.