Recent News

We Care about Ospreys

Volunteers in Febuary 2022 associated with Deep River and Chester Land Trusts launched a platform (built by Sandy Sandstrom) in Pratt Cove!

Ospreys are very large birds who happen to make even larger nests, on any structure near the water with a high vantage point. We love Ospreys but we know they don’t need to raise a family on our boats, docks, utility poles, etc. So we help them out by offering better real estate.

Our crew had a blast being directed by Mr. Sandstrom though the icy weather did not make it an easy task, they kept in good spirits.

If you want to help out with projects like this one in the future contact us today!

Deep River Land Trust Trail Tuesdays

Beginning Tuesday July 6th the Deep River Land Trust will be hosting a summer season series of hands on trail construction events. The events this year will be focused on the construction of a trail system on the DRLT Rattling Valley Ridge Preserve. This system will connect to the DRLT’s Florence Bidwell Sanctuary and Evelyn and Hawthorn Smythe Sanctuary and The Nature Conservancy’s Pratt Cove Preserve.

Projects will include; trail corridor clearing, tread construction, stone work and blazing. We’ll begin with trail corridor clearing. The DRLT has a limited number of basic tools that we can supply, but if you have your own please bring them. Tools needed are pruning shears, loppers, pruning saws and mattocks. Instruction and supervision will be provided.

Please come prepared to work in the woods and brush for up to two hours. Items to wear/bring are; closed toe shoes, long pants, your favorite bug spray, work gloves, water and a positive attitude. Optional things to bring are long sleeved shirts, bug nets, hats and snacks.

Events will begin promptly on Tuesday evenings at 6pm at the River Road parking area adjacent to the TNC Pratt Cove boat launch. Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian and everyone must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The event will begin with a safety brief and an explanation of work to be accomplished. Steady rain, Thunderstorms or winds above 20mph will cancel. If in doubt contact DRLT Chief Trail Steward Rob Butterworth at 860-526-3210.

We look forward to seeing you!

Please click the image below to fill out a form nominating DRLT as your favorite!

Notice for the Community:

EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST! Poems, songs, sketches, sculptures, photography…. There are many ways to express yourself and ideas. Invite your students to take part in this virtual art exhibition coming this April and May Click this link for more details and see the media below!

–Past News–

Great news! Deep River Land Trust has been selected for a grant enabling us to purchase open space in our community. A hearty thank you to our donors, volunteers, and board members who made this effort possible.

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that $4.8 million in state grants are being awarded to support the purchase of 1,139 acres of land for 15 projects in 14 Connecticut municipalities that the state will designate to be preserved as open space.

The grants are being awarded through the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and assists local governments, land trusts, and water companies in purchasing open space using funding from the Community Investment Act and state bond funds. This grant program requires match by the grant recipient and requires the open space land be protected by a conservation and public recreation easement, ensuring that the property is forever protected for public use and enjoyment.

“Connecticut’s tradition of preserving open space has helped define our landscape and preserve its important natural resources and geographical beauty,” Governor Malloy said. “These grants continue our open space preservation legacy and will increase the availability of open space for our residents across our state.”

These open space projects move the State of Connecticut further in achieving its goal of protecting 673,210 acres of land – approximately 21 percent of land in the state. At this time, Connecticut has more than 500,000 acres designated as state or local open space land.

“Since the program began in 1998, more than $125 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to assist in the purchase of more than 36,400 acres of land, including farmlands, in 139 cities and towns,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said. “These important open space properties protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

The December 2018 Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition grant awards announced today include:

Town: Deep River
Project Title: Pratt Cove Marsh
Sponsor: Deep River Land Trust
Grant: $104,000
Acreage: 7.2 acres
Description: This project constitutes two separate parcels, a 0.64-acre parcel with waterfront and a 6.75-acre upland parcel, both abutting existing protected open space within Pratt Cove marsh, a critical habitat of the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge. The two parcels abut existing protected open space forming an interconnected habit of just over 28 acres. Both parcels provide public access with parking to trails, a dock, and kayak/canoe launch, with open vistas.

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Dear Friends of the Deep River Land Trust

Join us for the 2018 Annual Meeting
June 9, 4:00 pm at Pettipaug Yacht Club
145 River Road, Essex
For a “Cook-Out” and Dedication of our nearby newest Preserve—Guetliweg.
Bring a dish to share…we will provide hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages.
RSVP before June 6th with your name and number attending to:
Ann Courcy 860-304-6843
or email:

Spring is finally here after a windy, snowy, and long Winter in Connecticut! Many trees were blown down during our several nor’easters this past Fall and Winter, so Spring clean-up in our Preserves will require more effort than usual to make sure our trails are passable. Yet despite the hard winter, the forests and streams and wetlands of our preserves have endured. Wood duck, mink, and beaver have been seen on Lyon’s Meadow Pond in the George C. Lyon Nature Preserve on Meadow Woods Road. Wild turkeys find refuge in the mountain laurel of the Florence Bidwell Sanctuary off Rattling Valley Road. Snowy egrets and great blue herons are wading and feeding again in the mud flats of Pratt Cove at the Smyth Sanctuary on Essex Street, and white-tailed deer bed down under white pines in the Guetliweg Preserve along River Road.

Last Fall and this Spring, Land Trust volunteers have been working to construct a trail and small parking area in the Guetliweg Preserve—10.5 acres along River Road that were a generous donation from William and Linda Caval. A pathway has been flagged and much of the trail clearing will be accomplished with the help of Valley Regional High School “Warriors in the Community” this Spring.

In addition to maintaining our own preserves, we have assisted neighboring land trusts in protecting new properties within their respective municipalities. As a part of the Land Trust Exchange and the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, we continue to develop better management practices and standards like trail building and conservation planning to increase the efficacy and standardization with which we, and other land trusts in the lower Connecticut River Valley manage and protect our properties.

We encourage you to come out and explore Deep River Land Trust properties. De-stress and get some exercise by frequenting our trails at Bidwell and Smyth Sanctuaries and Lyon and Guetliweg Preserves. Take some time out of a weekend to go kayaking at Pratt and Post Coves. Our open spaces should be enjoyed in all seasons, so that you can experience the changing of their animal and plant communities, and observe the coming and going of different birds, flowers, and foliage!

Conservation of the Horowitz/Haig Property on Pratt Cove and Essex Street

This year DRLT has embarked on an exciting opportunity to conserve 7.2 acres, consisting of 2 parcels of land along Essex Street. One parcel is a half-acre on Pratt Cove next to our existing Smyth Sanctuary; and the other is 6.7 acres of upland forest on the south side of Essex St. that is contiguous with DRLT’s Bidwell Sanctuary. We have applied to the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program—if our application is successful, the funds will cover up to 65 percent of the cost of the property. We have also received a $30,000 grant from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission and quite a few private donations, several of which are conditional to the final purchase of the property.

Flanked by Pratt Cove marsh and home to the myriad species that inhabit this extraordinarily diverse ecosystem, this property is adjacent to 6 acres of preserved land owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Adding this area to our Preserve network will expand public views over the pristine rare marsh, part of the lower Connecticut River Tidelands that TNC has designated as “one of the last great places in the Western Hemisphere.” Once trails are developed, it will be possible to hike from our Bidwell Sanctuary on Rattling Valley Road across Rattling Valley Hill to our Smyth Sanctuary on Pratt Cove off Essex Street; and it would further our goal of establishing a wildlife corridor between town-owned Canfield Woods and Pratt Cove.

The F. Peter Haeni Trail at Whittlesey Brook Sanctuary

Pete Haeni was one of the original founders of the Deep River Land Trust and served on the Board of Directors since its inception in May of 1975. Sadly, he passed away in late 2017. Over the years, Pete contributed tirelessly to countless trail-building, maintenance, and sign-installation projects. He was a long-time member of the DRLT land acquisition committee, and he was instrumental in negotiating many land donations to the Trust.  A small farmer in his spare time, Pete had a great appreciation for open-space land and preservation of our natural resources. His presence on the Land Trust Board will be sorely missed.

In memory of Pete and his service to our Land Trust, we will name the newly constructed trail at Whittlesey Brook Sanctuary in his honor. This trail will be extended into the upland area in the Greenaway Section of the Sanctuary, which was acquired by the Trust in 2010.

Whittlesey Brook Sanctuary is one of our older preserves and encompasses 19.5-acres of low-lying wetland areas and wooded upland. An existing trail in the older section crosses ledges and follows wooden boardwalks through the wetlands. Over time the boardwalks have deteriorated and are badly in need of repair, and the trail needs to be cleared of fallen trees. We are looking for volunteers to help with this effort. Please contact Janet Stone (860-526-5957) or email us at if you are interested in helping. The more recently acquired Greenaway Section awaits trail development and potential additional access off Woodland Road. Currently the only entrance is from a trailhead on Kelsey Hill Road where parking for a couple of cars is available and a new sign has been installed.



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