Students from John Read Middle School
unveil the latest sign in the Educational Trail Project sponsored by the Redding Land Trust.

History

 

Fifty years ago a great idea was born. Faced with rapidly increasing residential development to Redding’s south and increased commercialism to the north, economist, writer and local resident Stuart Chase sounded an alarm: “Large holdings are rumored on the verge of development,” he wrote. “The moment of truth has arrived.” People listened and, encouraged by Sam Hill, the first Chairman of Redding’s Conservation Commission and a descendant of John Read, the Redding Land Trust was incorporated in 1965.

 

It was an idea whose time had come. Within a year of its founding the Trust received a gift of four acres of high woodland on Wayside Lane. Soon after a 51-acre gift was added to the group’s holdings. Other donations followed and today Redding Land Trust, headed by Mary Anne Guitar, one of the five original founders, boasts over 1700 acres of protected land…and counting.

 

Ruby-throated hummingbird(Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-throated hummingbird
(Archilochus colubris)

 

 

Who We Are

Book of Trails
The Book of Trails is available for $5 a copy at Redding Town Hall and the Mark Twain Library.

The Redding Land Trust is an all volunteer organization comprised of a nine-member Board of Trustees that meets at least six times a year. Each Trustee is assigned ten to twenty properties which he or she visits at least once a year, ensuring that the land receives the best possible care. 

 

Trustees manage the Trust’s finances in consultation with a professional money management firm.  Each year they oversee a fundraising and membership appeal mailed to each Redding resident as well as an annual meeting for the full membership with a featured speaker and a report from the President.

 

The Land Trust has published four editions of The Book of Trails which is a guide to the more than 60 miles of hiking trails that meander through properties owned by both the Trust and the Town of Redding.

Top row (l to r): Gordon Loery, Silvia Erskine, Sean McNamara, Kevin Tschudi, David Heald Bottom row (l to r): Henry Merritt, Jane Ross, Mary Anne Guitar, Emily d'Aulaire,  Laurie Heiss
Top row (l to r): Gordon Loery, Silvia Erskine, Sean McNamara, Kevin Tschudi, David Heald
Bottom row (l to r): Henry Merritt, Jane Ross, Mary Anne Guitar, Emily d’Aulaire, Laurie Heiss

In 2011 the Redding Land Trust underwent a stringent external review of its governance and management policies by the national Land Trust Alliance to become one of the few land trusts nationwide to receive the honor of accreditation through the work of an all-volunteer board.

 

Board of Trustees

Mary Anne Guitar, Chairman
Silvia Erskine, Co-President

Gordon Loery, Co-President

Henry Merritt, Vice President

Laurie Heiss, Vice President

Jane Ross, Secretary
Sean McNamara, Treasurer

Mary Ann Carman 
David Heald
Sherry Karraker 
Kevin Tschudi

 

Partnerships

The partnership that the Land Trust has forged since its founding with the Town of Redding makes us unique among our Fairfield County neighbors, The Town’s elected government has always fully supported the conservation mission of the Land Trust.. The Trust has provided binder fees in order to hold properties until they could be purchased by the Town, endorsed by nearly unanimous Town meeting votes.  Today, the Trust stands ready  to match state-funds granted to the Town in order to preserve a central and crucial property from development.  Together, the Trust and Town share the cost of a part-time Land Manager who divides his time between the open space holdings of each, improving the overall stewardship of the town’s vast open space.  In addition, the Redding Land Trust has worked in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, Redding Open Lands, Inc., Aquarian Water Company (formerly Bridgeport Hydraulic), the Redding schools and the State of Connecticut.

 

 

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