Hike funding

East Hampton, Portland to Receive $364,000 in Open Space Funding Program

EAST HAMPTON, CT – East Hampton and Portland will receive $364,000 for Meshomasic’s Rattlesnake Brook Preserve, part of $7.29 million in public funds that will be distributed to 17 communities to purchase and protect open space.

The funding was announced by Governor Ned Lamont on Wednesday. State funds will protect 1,013 acres of open space in 17 communities across the state.

According to the statement, the property on Great Hill Pond Road in Portland and Cobalt Road in East Hampton will protect and expand the greenway of more than 15,000 acres of Meshomasic State Forest.

“The acquisition protects the water quality and habitats of the area, expands existing passive recreation with additional hiking trails, bird watching, fishing and better access to hunting opportunities on the land of state,” the statement said. “The Middlesex Land Trust will add a connector, a loop trail that connects to the Shenipsit Blue-blazed Trail, securing a key ridge section of the trail. The purchase will protect an existing wildlife migration corridor, ridge forest, a large wetland and stream corridor Many habitats threatened by climate change will be better protected, including forested swamps, central forests, and riparian lands adjacent to cold waterways (Rattlesnake Creek). Threatened and rare species will be protected.

$276,200 is also being funded to restore and renovate green spaces in six urban areas.

Funds are provided by the state Watershed Open Space and Land Acquisition Grant Scheme and the Grant Program for Urban Green Spaces and Community Gardensboth of which are administered by the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Since the state’s open space program began in 1998, more than $150 million in state funding has been awarded to municipalities, nonprofit land conservation organizations, and water companies to help purchase more than 41,200 acres of land to protect natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors, according to DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.

“Preservation of open space and access to open space is fundamentally important to our well-being,” Dykes said. “It is essential in our fight against climate change, protects wildlife habitat and provides recreational opportunities that benefit us physically and mentally, and supports our economy by helping to attract and retain residents who are increasingly seeking opportunities to be in nature.”