Pachaug Forest Needs Friends and Advocates

Bobbi Cornelius

Way back in the peaceful woods of Griswold on isolated Lee Road, is a beautiful old family farm. It is sunny, lush and serene. Touching the length of the back, and on both sides, is Pachaug State Forest, the largest state forest in Connecticut.

 

Lee Road is not just any old farm, because it lies within the Last Green Valley of the National Heritage Corridor, that is the only remaining expanse of woodland and open space between Washington, D.C. and Boston. What was once a sprawling forest has shrunk down to one remaining stretch, adjacent to Rhode Island.

 

This property has been farmed for nearly a century; the soil is proven prime agricultural land. It takes many decades to produce high quality soil, and this rapidly diminishing resource is protected by Griswold and Connecticut’s conservation and development plan.

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Photo Credit: Save Patchaug Forest

Within 1.5 miles, lie many special places that were established for the benefit of humanity. Frog Hollow Horse Camp means so much to the equestrians; a place to bring their animal companions is vital as development shrinks natural areas. There is Mount Misery Campground and Mount Misery Overlook where many thousands enjoy panoramic views. There is also the Youth Campground where successive generations of children have been thrilled to take part in overnight camping. The Rhododendron Sanctuary is one of the few trails in Connecticut equipped for wheelchairs and nearby is Hopeville State Park.

In this very spot visited by 85,000 people annually, the State of Connecticut has chosen to impose an outdoor, four lane Gun Range with a 55,000 square foot facility. They expect to fire 4,000-6,000 rounds daily. Construction would require knocking out historic stone walls, paving and widening dirt forest roads for year-round use. And that is only the beginning.

 

“Connecticut’s backyard” was created to preserve the natural world, and it is under attack. So many will lose so much because of an ill-conceived plan favored by the state, in a place that should be protected by our laws.

 

There are numerous issues of toxicity. Sound pollution has been established as dangerous to our health by the American Medical Association. Animals for miles will be forced out of their life sustaining ecosystems due to simultaneous explosive blasts. The elevation makes it likely that lead leachate can find its way to Mount Misery Brook, which Connecticut DEEP has identified as critical habitat, less than a mile away. Light towers will have harmful impacts on the nocturnal animals, as well as disrupting the fly-zone for birds, particularly during migration. Animals traverse Lee Road for a vital source of water at Crooked Brook.

The forest would become a dead-zone instead of a living ecosystem. A vital piece of Connecticut’s history could be destroyed forever. The land endowed to the people would be ripped away from us in this irresponsible plan that is being forced upon the forest.

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Take Action!

Please contact the Council on Environmental Quality to remind them of their mission to protect open space and the environment. Let politicians know we expect accountability on this issue. Follow and campaign for legislative measures to preserve the Pachaug State Forest.

 

May the Forest be with you!

 

Bobbi Cornelius is a member of the CT Chapter Sierra Club, a member of Save Pachaug Forest and a Board Member of Friends of Pachaug Forest .

Photo Credit: Save Patchaug Forest