The forests here are in full bloom. Bright green leaves unfurl into their fullness. Sex is in the air as birds give birth, toads finish their mating song and tadpoles abound in our pond. New life, new vigor, warmth, and breezes. We get out more too, finishing our home chores before we head out onto trails, lakes, ponds for fishing, canoeing.

My guests this week, Paul Pribula and Julia Roger, both GIS experts, continue to map Joshua’s Land Trust parcels and trails, ultimately for our benefit. My interest in Land Trusts and Joshua’s Trust, in particular, helped me understand the great value they contribute toward protecting land here in CT and throughout our country. Land Trusts, in general, serve many purposes.

“According to the report, New England is seeing its forestry vanish at a rate of 65 acres a day, with trees in Connecticut disappearing at 3,700 acres a year to development — the fourth fastest rate out of the six New England states.” (The Hour )

How do Land Trusts help? They are charitable organizations who acquire land for one or more purposes.

  1. Conservation: they protect natural habitat, watersheds and water quality, scenic views and ensure land is available for farming, forestry, and recreation.
  2. Depending on the purpose/intent of the land in trust will depend on its public or private guidelines. Some provide trails, education, and recreation benefits. Some are left alone.
  3. Most are independent, tax-exempt 501 (c) (30 of the Internal Revenue Code
  4. They follow the Land Trust Standards. They were first developed in 1989 and recently revised.
  5. Land Trusts cooperate with landowners for real estate transactions.

Many communities do not seem to have any forestry guidelines in place for preserving invaluable ecosystems. I mentioned in a couple of podcasts, I watched a hill

Landscape with the sun shining through the foliage with a clear turquoise lake behind the trees

being bulldozed down for apartment development. Hundreds of oaks and other species were removed. But the dot we have not connected yet is that an intricate ecosystem was damaged and the trees left will struggle for survival. Not to mention habitat was destroyed for innumerable species and many species lost their lives or cannot sustain life with what remains. This dot needs to be connected in town planning and development along with environmental committees.

Organizations like wildlandsandwoodlands.org have a vision for forest conservation here in New England:

“New England forests are at a turning point. Following a 200-year resurgence, forest cover has begun to decline in every New England state. Public funding and the rate of conservation have followed suit in recent years, even as landowner interest in protecting land increases. What will we do with this challenge and opportunity?”

That’s a good question. As Paul and Julia mentioned, visit and use your trails in your area. Get out and explore a different part of the state.

Here in CT, we have a weekly column, Paths Well-Traveled, featured in the Hartford Courant by Peter Marteka, who goes out and explores our trails, historic landmark areas and gives us a detailed account. Have you checked your local resources? I encourage you to do so. The more we get out to use our trail systems, support land trust efforts such as the Joshua’s Trust, we contribute to conservation efforts that again benefit all of us including non-human species, as well as preserve water, soil and air quality.

Do you have a favorite trail? Are you involved in your Land Trust system in your neck of the woods? Drop me a line. Tell your stories. Today we can make a difference.

Enjoy. Judith

 

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