About Heritage Land Preservation Trust

We are looking for other organizations to partner with. For instance, if you know a Boy Scout troop that is looking for a place to build trails, if you are with Audubon and would like another place for birding, or any organization that has an idea for improving the Torrington area but needs land, let us know. We are looking for ways of serving the public.

Our Mission

Preservation

To engage in and otherwise promote for the benefit of the general public the preservation of natural resources in Torrington and Northwestern Connecticut, including water resources, wetlands, woodlands, and open spaces, the wildlife therein, and historic and scenic sites.

Study & Educate

To engage in and otherwise promote the scientific study of and to educate the public in regard to the preservation of surrounding natural resources.

Acquire Property

To acquire by gift, purchase or otherwise, real and personal property, both tangible and intangible, of every sort and description and to use such property in such manner as the trustees of the corporation shall deem appropriate to carry out its purposes.

Conservation

To use all property held or controlled by this corporation and the net earnings thereof in the United States of America for the benefit of the area for conservation, educational and scientific purposes.

Chronological Acquisition of Properties

1969
September
Donated
Leon Zele Tract

Twelve wooded acres north of Alvord Park, donated by Leon and Leona Zele, owners of the old Zele Chevrolet dealership and Gold Star parents.

1971
December
Donated

Twenty mostly ??? acres with a corner of a swamp, opposite 1109 Stillwater Pond Road.

1973
September
Acquired
Hewitt Wildlife Refuge

Seventeen acres between Weed Road and Westside Drive. The property is near the first settlement in Torrington and was once called the "Barber Woodlot".

1978
September
Additional property donated in September 1981 and December 1998

One hundred thirteen wooded acres bordering Park Pond in Winchester. This is the jewel in our crown. Access is from Route 263, next to a small bridge on the road.

1980
September
Acquired

The Alexander Land Family Trust (surname is Land) donated the mill pond in the heart of Torrington containing the Coe Brass Dam, the last vestige of the brass industry in downtown Torrington. The 12-acre Coe Dam Park can be found in downtown Torrington at the end of a one-way street called Hotchkiss Place.

1981
December
Acquired
George Allen and Allen Stickels Properties

The Allen property includes 69 acres and lies between University Drive and Norfolk Road. The 15 acres of Stickels property lies nearby to the south of Goshen Road. Both were part of the Allen Farm, and the Water Company's Allen Dam is nearby.

1983
August
Acquired

Twelve acres bordering the Sue Grossman Greenway near Winsted Road. The property is on a part of the Still River that was dammed by the Burr family to power their gristmill.

1987
March
Acquired

Three acres were dedicated to be used by the senior citizens of the town. The property on Mountain Road is famous for its raised beds and "Boulli's Castle", a sturdy pavilion erected by volunteers. The Gardens are two miles north of West Torrington.

March
Acquired
Dan Lester Tract

Ten acres on the east side of Lovers Lane. The old "Mill Brook", now called Lover's Lane Brook, courses through the property. It is nearly across the two-acre Leland Stevens Tract which was acquired in 1976.

1991
December
Acquired
John Brooks Tract

Fifteen wooded acres bordering the First Ecclesiastical Cemetery and Water Company property off Goshen Road.

1994
December
Acquired
Fragale Property

Fifteen acres containing wetlands near the corner of Hassig Road and New Litchfield Street (Route 202). The property is nearly opposite the 20-acre Trobel Property, acquired in December 2001, which also contains wetlands.

1995
December
Acquired
Hogan Property

Twenty acres near the intersection of Weed Road and Highland Avenue. The wooded property slopes west to the Bantam River.

2000
December
Acquired
Ronda Burns Tract

Thirty-five wooded acres west of Wyoming Avenue, behind the old Extend-A-Care facility. It is contiguous with a six-acre easement Heritage has on Keystone Place, an assisted living facility in Newberry Corners.

2005
February
Acquired
Northwoods

Twenty-nine acres in the Burrville section of town.

September
Acquired

Eighty-six acres in the Pleasantview development off Torringford Street and included a system of walking trails.

Our History

In January 1968 the Torrington Land Conservation Trust was formed by members of the original Torrington Conservation Commission, a municipal board, who were looking for a way of preserving land. At the time the Trust was organized, Leon Zele, former owner of the Zele Chevrolet, donated a tract of land that had been landlocked by the new Route 8.

After Zele’s passing, his widow donated the remainder of the property, between Route 8 and Winsted Road. Theresa S. Shirer followed with a gift of 20 acres on Brass Mill Dam Road (now Stillwater Pond Road) and a nature trail was established. The next tract, in the Westside Lane/Klug Hill Road area, donated by Gertrude S. Hewitt, was once one of the old woodlots given to early settlers to cut their firewood, a gift of considerable historic significance. Then the Leland Stevens heirs donated a strip of land along Lover’s Lane to protect the brook from abuse.

The first acquisition of property outside of Torrington occurred in 1978 when Sherwood Berger of Winchester gave the trust a beautiful piece of 46 acres bordering Park Pond to be called the Julia Berger Wildlife Refuge. The property was significantly enhanced shortly after with the donation of 28 adjoining acres by William and Elizabeth Treiber, this parcel was designated to remain in its original condition. In 1998 another 40 acres was donated by the Treibers, increasing the Berger/Treiber parcel to 114 acres.

About this time, the Alexander Land Family Trust (his actual surname was Land) donated the mill pond in the heart of Torrington containing the Coe Brass dam, one of the last vestiges of the brass industry in downtown Torrington.

During the building boom in the 1990s and early 2000s, the trust was to acquire a few more properties as the city required builders to set aside some property as open space. The most significant example of this is the property at Pleasant View, two parcels with almost 90 acres. It is home to the Irving Mills Trail, named in honor of one of the founders of the trust.

One of our most successful properties is the Bowman Tract which is high on Mountain Road. This 3-acre parcel was donated to us by farmer Edwin Bowman with the stipulation that the land be made available to the “senior citizens” of town for purposes of gardening. With the leadership of one neighbor in particular and Joel Sekorski of the Sullivan Senior Center, there are now 75 raised beds, a large tilled plot, and a pavilion, using mostly donated materials. Master Gardeners and UCONN Extension are now involved in teaching better gardening skills to those fortunate enough to have their own little garden.

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