Centennial Watershed State Forest
In the late '90s, Aquarion planned the development of 730 acres of the Trout Brook Valley in Easton. The Aspetuck Land Trust, with support from the State of Connecticut, exercised a right of first refusal and pre-empted the development, which is now the now the Trout Brook Valley Preserve.
This episode was a stark reminder of how much land Acquarion possessed, and how unprotected that land was from development. The State of Connecticut and The Nature Conservancy worked with Aquarion on a long term solution that resulted in the the 2002 creation of the Centennial Watershed State Forest. Aquarion received $90 million, and 15,300 acres were protected.
In Redding, 660 acres of Class 2 property were sold to the State: 1,872 acres of Class I land were retained in fee title by Aquarion Water Company with conservation easements assigned to the DEEP and/ or TNC; and, 309 acres were retained by Aquarion (mostly the land under Saugatuck Reservoir) without any easements. State Forest lands in Redding constitute those former water company lands in the Aspetuck, Little River and Saugatuck Watersheds.
Representatives from the three partner organizations have formed a Conservation Land Committee which manages the Centennial Watershed State Forest. Regulations which apply to the Public Access Program for State Forest Lands are described in "Be Our Guest," a brochure with maps, available at Redding's Town Hall and the Mark Twain Library. The CWSF is co-managed by the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), The Nature Conservancy, and Aquarion.