By Jane Ross, Redding Land Trust on October 4, 2014
More than 25 years ago, Redding neighbors united to help the Redding Land Trust save a natural treasure in a town already renowned for the beauty of its open spaces of meadows, woods and watercourses.
In December 1987, the 9.8 acre property containing Redding’s Great Ledge was up for sale on the open market. The owners accepted an option from the Land Trust to give the Trust one year to try to raise the money for the purchase price. A group of potential donors to the Trust’s fund-raising campaign launched in 1988 to raise the required $225,000 visited the site. This is what they saw.
“Along the way they crossed a brook rippling over moss-covered rocks, marveled at a trout lily that had amazingly escaped the tread of many boots, and admired a few shy anemones and violets. Those who were seeing the view from the Great Ledge for the first time drew in their breath as they approached the top of the 200-foot cliff and gazed at the panorama below them. The Saugatuck Reservoir, dotted with islands, surrounded by miles of unbroken forest land as far as the eye could see, lay serene below, a single distant church spire the only touch of man’s handiwork.” These are the words of Joan Ensor, accomplished writer, reporter, historian, conservationist, Land Trust President and leading Redding citizen.
The Redding Land Trust, buoyed by a pledge of $50,000 from Redding Open Lands, Inc. once $100,000 in private donations was raised, formed a committee headed by Eugene Connolly and Constance Pharr-Bereton. Community appeals for support began. A special fund-raising concert at Warrups Farm, organized by Mary Travers in July where she also spoke featured three well-known bands. “The Greatest Show for Earth” was staged at Joel Barlow High School in November. Produced by June April, the event helped raise the final dollars with ticket sales and a raffle of goods and services.
Now, to celebrate the Redding Land Trust’s 50th anniversary, the group is hosting a lunch on the ledge on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 11 to 1.
Lunch from the Redding Ridge Market is $12. Participants may pick up their bag lunch at the Dayton Road trailhead and then hike an easy half-mile to the Great Ledge.
Registrants will be contacted by email regarding luncheon choices.
Dogs are not invited to this hike, and a rain date of Oct. 19 has been set.
Parking will be at the trailhead at 84 Dayton Road.