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Salisbury Association Land Trust enrolls 682 acres in Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Wildlands Partnership program

For immediate release: February 17, 2023

Salisbury, CT – The Salisbury Association has safeguarded as forever-wild 682 acres through the Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Wildlands Partnership program. The Wildlands Partnership encourages local land trusts across the Northeast to engage in forever-wild conservation by offering eligible land trusts support for project costs. The Partnership also offers access to the voluntary carbon market via the Wilderness Trust’s Wildlands Carbon program.

Six of Salisbury’s preserves are now protected with forever-wild easements including Dark Hollow Preserve, Pope Preserve, Yoakum, Mitchell Shostak and Belter Lime Rock. These properties are mostly core forest, in an area of high climate resiliency. They harbor a rich variety of wildlife and plants including many rare species. According to Michael Klemens, Salisbury’s planning and zoning board chair, and author of Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut, climate models show that the highlands region of Salisbury will be the last refuge for many of Connecticut’s species that depend upon cooler temperatures.

Forever-wild protection of the varied terrain and elevations of these properties make them well-positioned to absorb stresses and maintain function in the face of the external pressures of climate change, which makes these lands more climate resilient. These landscapes also provide safe places and multiple options for migrating wildlife and plants. The forest itself functions as a carbon sink, sequestering and storing carbon, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“We were excited to find a program that allowed small land trusts to aggregate land and participate in the carbon market. This allows us to get some monetary return given that these properties provide pure water, clean air, wildlife habitat, public recreation, as well as carbon sequestration and storage,” John Landon, a trustee of Salisbury Association, said.

This region of northwestern Connecticut is home to several Regional Conservation Partnerships with aligned missions to support this mostly forested corridor where the Appalachian Mountains work their way along the eastern seaboard to Canada. In 2022, Northeast Wilderness Trust and the nearby Cornwall Conservation Trust collaborated to protect 375 acres as forever-wild in this same wildlife connectivity corridor in Connecticut.

“We have always felt that these areas of core forest are best managed as forever-wild. Adding a layer of protection to these conserved lands with the support of Northeast Wilderness Trust helps make that protection more secure for the future. We also like that the easements allow the continuation of public access and our local monitoring programs,” Landon said. “We chose these areas carefully, selecting only our most suitable, forested lands.”

The Salisbury easement properties include diverse forest in both high and low terrain, which support habitat, refuge, and safe passage for myriad species including black bear, moose, beaver, mink, otter, fisher, porcupine, deer, red fox, coyote, timber rattlesnake, and other important wildlife species. Three of the preserves are adjacent to the Appalachian Trail Corridor (Pope, Belter Lime Rock, and Shostak); Better Lime Rock and Shostak are also part of a protected block along the Housatonic River.

“It’s been exciting to be able to collaborate on forever-wild conservation efforts in the beautiful forests of northwestern Connecticut,” Sophie Ehrhardt, Wildlands Partnership Coordinator at Northeast Wilderness Trust, said. “Salisbury’s approach of providing community access to nature while conserving the natural resources and wildlife habitat in the area made them a perfect candidate for the Wildlands Partnership program.”

Northeast Wilderness Trust:  Northeast Wilderness Trust is a regional land trust that focuses exclusively on protecting wilderness areas—lands permanently protected as forever-wild, where natural processes direct the ebb and flow of life. With its headquarters in Vermont, staff in multiple states, and board members across the Northeast, the Wilderness Trust ( protects more than 73,800 acres in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

The Salisbury Association:  Founded in 1902, The Salisbury Association is a nonprofit whose mission is to further the best interests of the town of Salisbury, Connecticut. Its Land Trust currently preserves more than 3,800 acres of open space through conservation easements and land ownership.

Photography: Dark Hollow, Mitchell Shostak, and Pope Preserves by Harry White