Crane Property Preservation Effort
Old Messenger Road Area – West Granby
The Granby Land Trust has been awarded two significant grants – a $60,000 grant from the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and a $40,000 grant from the State of Connecticut's Open Space and Land Acquisition Fund – for the preservation of 38 acres of unique, undeveloped, mountaintop wilderness in West Granby’s Old Messenger Road Area. The property has been renamed The Garmany Preserve.
This key parcel of land abuts Granby Land Trust property on two sides and will create a linkage between – and access to – 325 contiguous preserved acres and the opportunity to create a system of hiking, nature, and cross-country ski trails across at least 262 of those acres.
Virtually untouched by roads or development, this land provides habitat for all manner of wildlife, has historical significance, contains a significant primary brook (which is an excellent habitat for native brook trout), and is beautiful, with some fabulous rock ledges and waterfalls.
By preserving this parcel of land, the Land Trust will protect the property’s flora and fauna, as well as its streams, brooks and groundwater. A brook on the property, which feeds into Mountain Brook, then into the Salmon Brook, serves as an excellent nursery for native brook trout. In addition, the property is part of a key wildlife corridor between North and West Granby and Tunxis State Forest. Protecting wildlife corridors and preventing forest fragmentation is critical to protecting functional ecosystems.
This pristine piece of property abuts two Granby Land Trust properties that are inaccessible from any public road. Purchasing this land has created a gateway to these other properties. Also, within a short walk are two premier Land Trust properties: the Mary Edwards Mountain Property and the Godard Preserve.
The addition of a system of trails will open enormous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, catch-and-release fishing, cross-country skiing, and nature study. The Granby Land Trust hopes to host group activities on the property, as well, such as nature hikes, cross-country ski excursions, streamwalks, and birdwatching.
Access to this property also will provide future generations with a window onto the history of a former farm community that was established at the time of the French and Indian War and maintained -- against all odds -- for 150 years. The abandoned roadways, foundations and stonewalls on the property serve as reminders of quintessential features of Granby's historical fabric. (See the adjacent sidebar for the whole story, written especially for the Granby Land Trust by Granby Historian Mark Williams.)
The Land Trust is now having the property surveyed, creating a Property Management Plan, and designing a trail system. The Land Trust looks forward to sharing these remarkable pieces of land with the public as soon as possible.