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News: Open Space Conservation Areas

Date Published Author
  Recreation Department 

General Information, Pictures, Trail Maps, Management Plans

The Conservation Commission oversees the operation and maintenance of the Town’s Conservation Properties. For each property there is a management plan that serves as a guide for the use of the property. Each plan has been prepared in accordance with the “Open Space Management Guidelines and Process” approved by the Town Council. The process assigns overall on-site responsibility for operations and maintenance to the Head Steward and Tolland Conservation Corps in concert with a property steward assigned to each conservation area. Each property is posted with approved and prohibited uses that are based upon the environmental characteristics of the property. Town residents are encouraged to use the property and be respectful of other visitors. Where dogs are allowed, they must be leased according to Town ordinance.

The Commission has developed a comprehensive listing of all the Tolland Connecticut Hiking Trails. This document states the property name, acreage, and all of its trails. For each trail, there is information regarding its type (loop/linear/connector), marking color, mileage, difficulty rating, and features. This is a great overall reference for hiking in Tolland. Maybe you can hike all of the trails!

A) Auperin Conservation Area- 28 acres on westerly side of Weigold Road near Coventry town line. Trail access through the Weigold property. Benches provide views from a knoll. (GPS 41.83776,-72.36124)

B) Baxter Street Conservation Area – 25 acres on easterly side of Baxter Street, just north of the Valley View Cemetery and a Public Works area. The 2.5 acres of wetlands that surround the brook will be left in its natural state. There is an old woods road, which is the trail, that runs across the property in an east/west direction. (GPS 41.839881,-72.335318)

C) Becker Conservation Area – 28.5 acres along the Willimantic River just to the north of River Park. There is 1,200 feet of river frontage with a steep ridge paralleling the river at the northern section. Most of the land is covered by a mature White Pine forest mixed with some oaks. Near the southern end of the forested portion is an interesting natural amphitheater. (GPS 41.861779,-72.307724)

D) Campbell Peaceful Valley Conservation Area – 70 acres on Hunter Road overlooking the “Peaceful Valley”. Trails connect with Stoppleworth property to the north. There are 1.5 miles of trails including a unique bluff and rock outcrop. The ridge trail gives views of the farm area with its open pasture and brook. The exposed ridge line is a remnant of a historic fault line. (GPS 41.90791,-72.38540)

E) Crystal Peat Conservation Area – 30.5 acres at the northern part of Cook Road. The terrain of the land is very flat with wetlands. In the middle of the property, there is a pond surrounded by heavy undergrowth. Brooks Brook starts on this property and flows south, joining the Skungamaug River. This property was used many years ago to produce peat. There remains a tall shipping wall and two rectangular foundations. (GPS 41.913372,-72.356865)

F) King Riverside Conservation Area – 173 acres with 30 acres of public access on Dimock Road (off of 195). There are 1.2 miles of trails following the riverbank of the Willimantic River. The northern section has a beautiful grove of mountain laurel. A newly-constructed bridge takes a hiker over Newcomb Brook and on to Fox Ridge Lane. (GPS 41.83767,-72.31231)

G) Knofla Conservation Area – 72 acres on Bakos Road just east of Hunter Road. There are 2.1 miles of trails plus a bog view trail to a 15 acre cedar bog. (GPS 41.90484,-72.38196)

H) C. W. Luce Conservation Area – 83 acres accessed from Susan Drive. Hardwood forest mixed with white pine and including a wooded swamp, wetlands, and an area of outcrop ledges. Charter Brook, a tributary to the Skungamaug River, runs through the property. (GPS 41.88941,-72.35120)

I) Palmer Kendall Mountain Conservation Area – 74 acres off Kendall Mountain Road, between Sugar Hill Road and Cook Road. Contains the top of Kendall Mountain with sweeping views, a winding brook, a rock quarry and dense Mountain Laurel thickets. (GPS 41.91516,-72.36272)

J) John & Mary Parciak Conservation Area – 60 acres with access from Bald Hill Road and Burbank Road. There are 2.8 miles of trails to a quartz rock and a meteor rock. It is the highest point in Tolland with great winter views to the south. (GPS 41.88740,-72.38012)

>K) Sage Meadow Conservation Area – 22 acres off Sage Meadow Drive, held with Joshua’s Trust. Trails have not yet been established. Most of the property is an open wetlands meadow divided by Clough Brook. The meadow can be seen from Old Stafford Road. (GPS 41.88197,-72.36326)

L) Schindler/Schmidt Conservation Area – 123 acres off Sugar Hill Road just south of Bakos Road. There are 3.8 miles of trails including a scenic rock and a connector to Kendall Mountain Road and the Palmer property. It is the headwater to Charter Marsh and contains dense forest with bogs, caves, and rocky outcrops. (GPS 41.90340,-72.36973)

M) Shafran Conservation Area – 65 acres off Eaton Road just west of Willie Circle. There are 1.4 miles of trails with 2 ponds. Property is bisected by Cemetery Brook. (GPS 41.89325,-72.40728)

N) Stoppleworth Conservation Area – 55 acres off Hunter Road. Trails connect with Campbell property to the south. There are 1.2 miles of trails with many stream crossings. Mostly woodland with wetlands and uplands. Contains the historic Aborn Homestead cellar hole. (GPS 41.91097,-72.38338)

O) John H. Weigold Conservation Area – 33 acres on westerly side of Weigold Road near Coventry town line. 1.0 miles of trail connects with Tobiassen Memorial Forest (Joshua’s Trust) and Summerwood Ridge. Contains remains of old mill pond with dam by the side of the road, a brook, vernal pools, and a ledge rising 70 feet above the brook. (GPS 41.83565,-72.35986)

Application Form for Night Use of a Tolland Conservation Area – Conservation Areas close at sunset which is consistent with other outdoor Town facilities. Night use of any type is by exception and requires advance written approval from the Conservation Commission. Other use restrictions and visitor requirements also apply and are identified on each property’s management plan. Please submit this form to the Conservation Commission through the town’s Planning and Community Development Department. The Conservation Commission meets once a month (2nd Thursday); you therefore should plan accordingly. Please call (860) 871-3601 if you have questions.

Notification Form of Group Use of a Tolland Conservation Area - The Tolland Conservation Commission requests notification of organized group use of the Conservation Areas owned by the Town of Tolland. The purpose is to avoid conflicts with other group users, coordinate with ongoing maintenance work and identify a responsible party to assure consistency with the “Leave No Trace” policy. Please call the Planning and Community Development Department at (860) 871-3601 with your notification or any questions.

If you have comments concerning any of the above areas please feel free to e-mail the Commission at:

Other Areas:

Venture Crew 422 has cleared and marked the trails at the Benton Homestead on Metcalf Road.  The Parks and Recreation Department has hiking trails at Crandall Park on Cider Mill Road, Heron Cove Park on South River Road, and Cross Farms Recreation Area on Rhodes Road.  Joshua’s Trust preserves the Tobiassen Memorial Forest at the end of Noah Lane.