FRWA urges our members in Simsbury to vote yes on the Ethel Walker Woods Phase II referendum on May 15th, 2012. Voting Yes on Question 4 will approve the 2.05 Million Dollar appropriation for Phase 2A of the Ethel Walker Woods conservation. Of the 2.05 Million Dollar appropriation, one third of the money has been secured by state and federal grants. If this fails to pass, the $1,000,000 deposit made in 2007 (passed Nov 2006) will be forfeited, $691,000 in grant funding will be lost and the 90 acres of Phase 2 A and 2 B will be vulnerable to future development. For more information on the Ethel Walker Woods Project, please visit keepthewoods.org or The Trust for Public Land.
For a compelling reason to support this project’s second phase please read this fact sheet on the project from the Highlands Conservation Act. The text of this document has been copied and pasted below:
The State of Connecticut requests Highlands Conservation Act funds to protect Phase II of the Ethel Walker Property–91 acres of ecologically rich forest, streams, meadows and floodplains. The Town of Simsbury, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and The Ethel Walker School, permanently protected 336 acres in the first phase of this effort in July 2007. At closing, the Town made a $1 million non-refundable deposit on an option to purchase the remaining 91 acres.
The Ethel Walker land contains class I watershed land and is the primary recharge area for the Stratton Brook Aquifer. This aquifer supplies numerous private wells and provides drinking water to more than 10,000 residents.
There are extensive pubic hiking and equestrian trails here. Large stands of mature conifers support more than 60 forest nesting and migratory bird species. The American Bittern, a CT endangered species, has been documented here by the Hartford Audubon Society. Stratton Brook supports native Eastern Brook Trout, in decline throughout CT.
Ethel Walker is contiguous with several preserved properties; if all 427 acres here are preserved, the property would form the core of 1,400 acres of open space. This unique property has been an open space priority for the town and the State of Connecticut for many years.