More than 180 acres of land in or along the Connecticut River has been designated as permanent open space, due to the first large-scale preservation land trust operated by a regulated utility company in the United States.
At a ceremony at the Parsons Road boat launch in Enfield Thursday, top executives of Northeast Utilities and Attorney General George Jepsen announced the creation of a new non-profit, irrevocable land trust that includes King's Island.
The trust consists of four parcels owned by NU; the largest is 723 acres on Skiff Mountain in Sharon. The others are 57 acres on Hanover Road in Newington, and 13 acres at Bartlett Cove in Waterford.
The Enfield/Suffield property is 188 acres, including 100 on the island itself, and is a known winter habitat for bald eagles. Some of the space will be available for recreational use.
"I'm the only speaker today who's wearing an appropriate tie," quipped Jepsen, showing off his owl-laden neckwear. "Open space preservation is really about habitat preservation for all these little creatures that inhabit our world with us.
"Preserving beautiful natural areas is one of our primary land management goals," said Tom May, CEO/President of NU. "We take great pride in being environmental stewards and implementing sustainable land practices across our service territory."
DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty said, "Connecticut's natural resources and immense beauty add greatly to the quality of life we enjoy in this state."
The utility company has set up a new interactive web site, http://www.nu.com/landmanagement, which contains maps, photos and videos to help identify hiking trails and other recreational opportunities.