The following has been submitted by the Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department:
On Sunday, June 5, 2011 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a guided walk led by local naturalists Sue and Tom Harrington. to celebrate the permanent preservation and recent trail improvements to the Albert E. Moss Forest, Wildflower, and Wildlife Sanctuary. The event is free and open to the public and is appropriate for families with children age five and older. Please plan to meet at the Mansfield Community Center at 2:00 pm.
In 2010, the Town of Mansfield purchased the Sanctuary to preserve its diverse habitats and to serve as a “village woods,” offering walking trails for many nearby residents. The wooded open space on this property compliments the Storrs Center development nearby and provides an extension for recreational programs at the Mansfield Community Center.
The135-acre Moss Sanctuary has been an outdoor classroom for University and Town programs and a place where visitors from Northeastern Connecticut can enjoy native flora and fauna, walk through trails, and discover a variety of natural habitats since it was established in 1989.
The CT Forest and Park Association holds a conservation restriction on the land to ensure its preservation as forest and wildlife habitat. The Moss Sanctuary Preservation Project was facilitated by the CT Forest and Park Association (CFPA) and is part of a larger series of land conservation transactions that resulted in permanent conservation of more than 253 acres of land in Mansfield and Willington, a 50-year protection of an additional 300-acres, and permanent protection of more than three miles of the Blue-Blazed Nipmuck Trail in Mansfield and Willington. Additionally, the protection of these lands contributes to maintaining the natural hydrology of the Fenton River Watershed.
In 2010, The Last Green Valley, Inc. awarded a grant to the Town of Mansfield to improve accessibility and awareness of the Sanctuary. This grant funded signs, trail improvements, and the interpretive trail guide. Volunteers from CT Forest and Park Eastern CT Roving Trail Crew, the Mansfield Mustangs, UConn Community Outreach, EcoHouse, and EO Smith High School Students are responsible for the trail improvements.
For more information about the Albert E. Moss Forest, Wildflower, and Wildlife Sanctuary and all of Mansfield parks and preserves, please visit www.mansfieldct.gov. To download trail guides of Mansfield’s Parks and Preserves go to www.mansfieldct.org/trailguides.