Bethany Land Trust Recipient of Land Acquisition Grant
The Bethany Land Trust has received a land acquisition grant of $60,000 from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation to help acquire 89 Russell Road in Bethany. The 38.5-acre property includes woodland, rocky outcrops, and a rich woody marsh that protects songbirds, wildflowers, and other wildlife. It borders the Town of Bethany’s Carrington Preserve and the Land Trust’s Whispering Pines Preserve.
The Land Trust plans to construct hiking trails on the Russell Road property and connect them to adjacent open space parcels. The acquisition will further Bethany’s open space goals and values, including scenic landscapes, wildlife habitat, recreation, and water quality.
The Land Trust is in the midst of raising an additional $35,000 to complete the acquisition. With the grant funds and a sizeable pledge from a private donor, the Land Trust is close to being able to acquire 89 Russell Road.
The Bethany Land Trust has been engaged in a series of land preservation activities in recent years. In 2016, the 36.4-acre Woodward Nature Preserve was received as a subdivision set aside, followed by the purchases of the 25.2-acre Grobe Preserve in 2018 and the 6.9-acre Van Epps Preserve in 2020. In late 2022, the Land Trust received a donation of 47 acres of woodlands, streams, and historic features called Whispering Pines. In August 2023, the Land Trust acquired 20 acres from Connecticut Water, and in September 2023, it acquired another 16 acres from Cathy and Dan Van Epps.
In addition to its recent property acquisition activities, the Land Trust is dedicated to maintaining its preserves and easements. The exploits of its trail crew, “The Wild Bunch”, were recognized in a short piece published
in the July 2023 issue of Connecticut Magazine.
The Bethany Land Trust is a private, charitable, non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving natural lands. It now owns 30 properties totaling 437 acres and is steward to some 200 additional acres of easements.