Several local municipalities are sharing in $6.2 million in state funding to protect and preserve open space lands. The grants come from the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program and the Urban Green and Community Garden Program to help local governments, land trusts, and water companies in purchasing land to protect as open space.
Ridgefield Conservation Commission will use $42,000 to acquire 13.8 acres known as Bear Mountain Open Space. The parcel will connect a 3-acre property of town-owned open space to the 386-acre Hemlock Hills open space preserve. It will also help the town of Ridgefield reach its goal of protecting 30% of the town’s land mass as protected open space.
The property is mostly wooded and contains native tree and shrub species including American beech, black birch, hickory, blueberry, and mountain laurel. It is part of the Still River Watershed. The property predominantly consists of a steeper forested slope that drains into Miry Brook. The public will be able to access the property through a proposed trail that ascends and runs along the northern peak of Bear Mountain affording views of Danbury and northern Fairfield County.