Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust
(Andover, Ashford, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Franklin, Hampton, Lebanon, Mansfield, Mansfield Center, Scotland, Storrs, Tolland, Willington, Windham & Willimantic)
Whoa! Before I even read up on this land trust, I’m going to guess this is the largest one in Connecticut. FOURTEEN towns?! And three Connecticut non-town towns?! (Storrs, Mansfield Center, and Willimantic.) Many of which aren’t much more than woods and farms? Sheesh, if I’m really to hike through this land trust, I have my work cut out of me.
Joshua’s Trust — officially, Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust — is the largest land trust in Northeastern Connecticut, protecting more than 4,000 acres. Some properties are owned by the Trust and others are protected by easements; both methods assure that those lands will not be developed in perpetuity. Joshua’s Trust serves an area roughly conterminous with the Windham Region and extending into Tolland County, including the towns of Andover, Ashford, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Franklin, Hampton, Lebanon, Mansfield, Mansfield Center, Scotland, Storrs, Tolland, Willington, Windham and Willimantic, CT.
Ok. Slow down. Only the largest in northeastern Connecticut? Hm. I love the “historic trust” part of this whole thing, and I love that I learned a new word – “conterminous”, which mean “having a common boundary” which, to me, is an “either-or” sort of thing, not a “roughly” thing. But whatever… And I’m still annoyed that they say that Mansfield Center and Storrs are separate from Mansfield somehow. But I know, I know; that’s just me- and I’ll follow their convention below. Back to the historic part of this thing –
In addition to land, we also maintain two sites of historic significance: The Gurleyville Gristmill and the Atwood Farm. Cool. But why the weird name?
Our CT land trust is named for Joshua, son of Uncas, Mohegan Sachem, who in 1676 bequeathed his hunting grounds in the heart of eastern Connecticut to “16 men of Norwich”.
And I’m sure that was a fair deal. Hey, at least Joshua’s Trust is honoring the guy and keeping his former hunting grounds as “hunting groundsable” as possible I guess.
The trust was organized and incorporated in 1966. It grew out of a joint initiative of the Mansfield Historical Society and the Mansfield Conservation Commission, and the support of a number of residents in Mansfield and beyond.”
Feel free to click below and read more about this fairly unique organization. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to sort out which properties are mapped and/or trailed. The trust has a ton of unmapped “wild” tracts “more suitable for wildlife than humans.”
If linked, I’ve hiked it.
*No current map, but potentially can be explored
Abraham R. and Samuel H. Friedman Forest Preserve
The Ashford Oak
Church Farm Preserve (partly in Mansfield)
Fliegel Farm Woods
Iron Mine Valley
Josias Byles Sanctuary
Two Sisters Tract
Bernard Church Woods
Utley Hill Preserve
Elizabeth Couch Preserve
George and Margaret Hemphill Woods*
Warren Stone Preserve*
H.E. Preston Nature Sanctuary
Pigeon Swamp Preserve
Gurleyville Gristmill and Barn*
Nate and Theora Whetten Woods
Jacob’s Hill Preserve (Town of Mansfield)
Knowlton Hill Preserve
Dunham Woods (Town of Mansfield)
Michael’s Preserve and Ysebaert Sanctuary*
Tinkerville Brook Preserve
Wolf Rock Nature Preserve (Town of Mansfield)
Echo Woods Beach & Echo Woods
Center Meadow *
Harriet E. Babcock Preserve
Tobiassen Memorial Forest
Chenes Roches Preserve
Atlantic White Cedar Bog*