Click Here for a more detailed East Haddam map that identifies our Preserves. The number next to each Preserve below corresponds to the number on that map.
The 6-acre Ayers Preserve is accessed from Devil's Hopyard Road via a narrow finger of the property 0.25 miles south of Dolbia Hill Road, and 0.75 miles north of Route 82. Look for the small yellow sign on a tree at the entrance. A new trail was recently established.
About 300 feet of this preserve borders Eightmile River (directly across from the Ayers Preserve is The Nature Conservancy easement to Burnham Brook Preserve). Land bordering the river is floodplain, and due to scarring of the lands by floods, groundcover near the river is sparse. Much of the site was once used as a Christmas tree farm, but now the spruce trees are large, lacking sun in the understory, and naked limbs intertwine below a lush green canopy of evergreen. The area is dotted with red maples, grape vines, and bittersweet vines; the ground is covered by large colonies of royal, cinnamon, and New York ferns. Cultivated species of trees and shrubs border the property.
For a map of the Ayers Preserve, please Click Here.
For a photo taken at a recent Ayers Preserve Work Party, Click Here.
Nestled between Mott Lane, the Moodus Reservoir boat launch road, and the shallow waters of that portion of the reservoir, is a red maple wetland with an understory of blueberry, winterberry, and pepperbush. On 1.6 acres is packed a little wildlife sanctuary accessed from the boat launch road. Songbirds nest in the interior of the property, but the margins between the reservoir and the woodland is a haven for catbirds, kingbirds, herons, yellow-throated vireos, and if one is lucky enough to spot one, a Virginia rail stalking along the muddy border. Mink, muskrats, and otter share the lush vegetative cover along the reservoir.
For a map of the Axelrod Preserve, please Click Here.
The 11-acre Ballahack Preserve's trail is best accessed at the dead end of the Ballahack Road Extension. There is evidence of an old woods road that serves as the trail. It traverses a varied terrain, with habitats of low wet sites and upland hardwoods, some very steep inclines, and also level ground. A healthy understory of mountain laurel flowers in mid-June. In winter, there are lovely views of Bashan Lake.
For a map of the Ballahack Preserve, please Click Here.
The 16+ acre Bernstein Preserve is a continuing effort to create a linear preserve along the scenic and historically significant Moodus River. The river winds its way back and forth along Route 149, finally feeding into Salmon Cove, and then on to the Connecticut River. The water quality of this tributary has a notable effect on the eastern portion of Salmon Cove, which provides habitat for several unusual plant species. The cove is also noted for wintering bald eagle populations, osprey and other raptors, numerous waterfowl, and abundant furbearers.
The preserve contains the remains of the old historic Atlantic Mill. The stone work, old turbines, head and tail races, sluice-way, and other mill remnants remain. Click Here for a photograph of the original mill. Click Here for an article from a recent EHLT Newsletter about the mill.
The preserve is accessed via Land Trust property that serves as a driveway for the house on the east side of Route 149/Falls Road, about 100 yards south of Andrews Road. Park off the right of the driveway. Access to the preserve is through the bar-way at the end of the driveway.
For a map of the Bernstein Preserve, please Click Here.
Chapman Pond is a large tidal pond located in the southwestern corner of East Haddam. It is connected to the Connecticut River by two tidal creeks. The area played an important role during the Town's development as the center of fishing activities, and the growing of livestock hay for the town's farmers. Small strip lots of meadow belonged to each farm family. Every year, farmers harvested the hay from the wet meadows that spanned the pond and the river. The Great Flood of 1936 destroyed the hay meadows, and a floodplain wetland and marsh became established.
Chapman Pond, the floodplain and the surrounding upland forests have gained ecological importance in this scenic, somewhat remote area. The Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust worked cooperatively to preserve the area, and now, over 700 acres are preserved. Click here for TNC's Chapman Pond Web page. The Trust owns several small parcels contiguous to that of TNC, and the effort to preserve the remaining small parcels continues.
The Land Trust's six parcels are accessible only by boat at high tide. The TNC properties are accessible by boat or by trail off of River Road. There is parking at the end of an old woods road, which begins at the 90 degree turn on River Rd. about 1/4 mile from Route 82. The trail begins beyond the parking spaces.
For a map of the Chapman Pond Preserves, please Click Here.
The Hammond Mill Preserve is located along the Eightmile River, south of Devil's Hopyard State Park. The 12-acre preserve is on the west side of the river, and another 2-acre easement is on the east side of the river. The preserve is mature oak/hemlock forest with a diversity of wildflowers and abundant woodland bird populations. The area is of notable historic interest, having served as a site for water-powered mills since the late 18th century. The water-powered mill was first used as a fulling mill, then a grist mill, and later as a saw mill. The old saw mill and water wheel are now located south of the Johnsonville dam off Route 149 in Moodus. The mill foundations, sluice, and remnants of the dam remain at Hammond Mill.
For a map of the Hammond Mill Preserve, please Click Here.
For a photo of the old mill foundation on the trail, Click Here.
For a Reminder News article and photos of a 2008 Work Party, Click Here.
The William Jezek Memorial Preserve includes 18.5 acres and another 28-acre easement along the shoreline of the Moodus Reservoir. The preserve has frontage on Daniel Peck and Beebe Roads, and a long stretch reaches to the reservoir. The land hosts a moderate-aged oak/beech/maple forest with several wetlands, a small brook flowing into the reservoir, stone walls, and steep slopes. A trail accessed on Daniel Peck Road descends through the preserve to Beebe Road.
For a map of the William Jezek Memorial Preserve, please Click Here.
This 9+ acre parcel off Parker Road is a great educational site for naturalists wanting to locate a diversity of tree and shrub species in one location. The land is an interior lot given to the Trust because of its wildlife value. Open meadow and early succession woodland is used extensively by deer, songbirds, raptors, coyote, and other wildlife. In early spring, the understory shrubs are a yellow mass of tiny spice-bush flowers, and in mid-to-late summer, the fragrance of sweet pepperbush fills the air.
Access is gained via the east side of Parker Road, about 1/2 mile off Mt. Parnassus Road, past a picturesque old oak tree. The trail traverses a small wetland that drains into a roadside swamp.
For a map of the Olde Field Preserve, please Click Here.
The Sheepskin Hollow Preserve is south of Mt. Parnassus Road, and accessible via Sheepskin Hollow Road, or via Ridgebury Road, which is the first road on the right off Warner Road, about 1/2 mile from Mt. Parnassus Road. The trail system begins at the cul-de-sac at the end of Ridgebury.
Part of the preserve is open water and swamp, with active beaver colonies. The beaver dam is at the southern end of the pond, where a man-made stone dam was once located. Local legend supports the idea that the pond was mucky, and an entire team of horses was lost in it. The shallow pond is surrounded by buttonbush, alder, tussock sedge, sweet pepperbush, and other emergent wetland vegetation. The pond/beaver dam is part of the headwaters for Roaring Brook, which eventually flows into the Connecticut River at Hadlyme. Roaring Brook is bordered by huge boulders and picturesque cascading waterfalls.
Most of the preserve is hardwood forest with scattered wet areas and brooks. A well-marked loop trail provides a brisk 45 minute walk to complete. New trails have recently been established.
For a map of the Sheepskin Hollow Preserve, please Click Here.
For a view of the beaver pond from the Sheepskin Hollow Trail, Click Here.
SOME OF OUR PRESERVES AR NOT PRACTICAL FOR HIKING TRAILS; OTHER LAND DONATIONS ARE RECENT, AND TRAIL HAVE NOT YET BEEN ESTABLISHED. EASEMENTS ARE PARCELS OF LAND IN WHICH AN OWNER MAINTAINS USE OF THE PROPERTY, BUT FORMS AN AGREEMENT WITH THE LAND TRUST TO REFRAIN FROM DEVELOPMENT. PUBLIC ACCESS TO EASEMENT PROPERTY MAY BE LIMITED AND VARY FROM ONE EASEMENT TO ANOTHER. SOME OF THESE PROPERTIES ARE LISTED AND DESCRIBED BELOW.
An 83-acre easement on quaint Petticoat Lane was given to the Land Trust in 1997 by the late Melba and Harold Helmboldt. This easement of beautiful vistas is part of a classic New England farm of undulating hills used for haying, mature mixed hardwood forests, ponds, a small marsh, and pristine Hungerford Brook.
A visitor overlooking the property might see a harrier soaring a few feet above the grassy fields in search of prey, or a fox stalking at dawn or dusk. Otter and mink inhabit the wetlands and bear sightings have been reported. The borders between the fields and woodland is a perfect habitat for nesting songbirds. Grassland species of birds, many whose populations are rapidly declining in Connecticut, nest in the expansive grasslands.
The easement enables the owners of the farm to continue using the land. The fields are kept open by annual mowing, and the owners retain use of the hay. The buildings on the property are not part of the easement. The Helmboldt's foresight to preserve the land in an open space easement by partnering with the Land trust is a gift that will benefit the Trust, citizens of East Haddam, and the Helmboldt heirs forever.
A narrow band of land between Salmon Cove and Route 149 was once divided into many small parcels previously used as hay fields by local farmers. There is historical evidence that these lots were also sites for salmon and shad fishing. The land is now overgrown with a thick tangle of trees, shrubs, and vines. The land is ecologically productive as an important site for over-wintering bald eagles, nesting waterfowl, songbirds, and populations of furbearers. Osprey feed and migrate in the area and the preserve holds the potential for osprey nests.
The 2.8-acre Keech Preserve has frontage on the mouth of the Salmon River, and extends eastward into a productive tidal marsh that extends to Route 149. There are no hiking trails. This site is best accessed by canoe.
One of the Land Trust's most recent acquisitions is a two-acre parcel at the terminus of the Moodus River with 320 feet of footage on Salmon Cove, a freshwater tidal wetland that hosts several rare plant species. The site is on both sides of Cove Road, and the upland portion is a suitable building lot. The Nature Conservancy saved the site from development by purchasing the land in 1994. A stream flows from the upland hardwoods into Salmon Cove.
Click Here for TNC's Web page about the Salmon River and Salmon Cove.
Several organizations recently completed an acquisition of the Patrell Property, an East Haddam and Lyme Preserve. This 42 acre parcel contains over 3000 feet of frontage on the Eightmile River. The Land Trust will assist in the stewardship of the property, purchased cooperatively by the Towns of East Haddam and Lyme, the State of Connecticut, and East Haddam and Lyme Land Trusts.
For a map of the Patrell Preserve, Click Here.
For more detailed information and photos, please Click Here for a flyer.