Municipal Conservation Areas Program
Helping towns preserve open land for public use is something DLC is uniquely positioned to do.
DLC understands that it’s important that the public has the opportunity to have access to high quality natural areas for passive recreational use. While many local towns want to enhance the quality of life for its citizens by conserving important natural resources and providing recreational opportunities, often they lack the resources to acquire important open land.
This is where DLC can help. Through our Public Conservation Areas Program DLC offers expert assistance to towns interested in acquiring important open space land for passive, public recreational use. Our goal is to help communities throughout the County create Public Conservation Areas so that people will have more chances to enjoy the outdoors such as hiking, bird watching or simply having a picnic. Towns can turn to DLC for help to successfully achieve the acquisition, protection and management of important public recreational land.
This program is locally driven, with municipalities identifying potential projects and then asking DLC to help complete them. DLC can assist towns with obtaining an appraisal, negotiating with the landowner, securing an option to purchase, raising necessary funds, protecting the land with a conservation easement, closing the deal, preparing a management plan, hosing an official grand opening and orientation hike to introduce citizens to their new conservation area.
DLC’s success in this area includes our work with the Town of Dover and the Friends of Dover Stone Church (an all volunteer community group) to acquire, preserve, and protect the unique and historic Dover Stone Church property in 2004. Together we teamed up to successfully purchase these 58 acres adjacent to the Village of Dover Plains.
The Dover Stone Church is a geological formation of metamorphic rock located on the Stone Church Brook that formed a natural cavern and waterfall that has been attracting people across the region since the 1800’s. Its first known reference dates back to the 1600’s, when legend states that Pequot Indian Chief Sassacus and his warriors hid in the cave to escape capture and death by the English Army.
Through this team approach the property is preserved forever and open to the public for passive recreational use. In 2009 DLC accepted a conservation easement protecting the viewshed from Stone Church and the Town of Dover accepted a fee gift of an additional 62 acres which borders the Stone Church Preserve’s southern boundary increasing the preserve’s size to over 110 acres! DLC is in the process of working with the Friends and Town to add another 50 acres to this important and popular Preserve.