Avalonia Land Conservancy acquires the Herman E. Sheets Family Forest in North Stonington, CT

This 86-Acre Parcel Is A Key Connector To Expanding Regional Greenway

The Avalonia Land Conservancy has saved an ecological and historically significant property in North Stonington, signing the final documents on June 10, 2021. The Herman E. Sheets Family Forest is an 86-acre parcel that includes Laurel Glen, one of North Stonington’s original historic villages, while also providing critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife and birds.

“Avalonia is incredibly excited to have saved this open space resource,” stated Kim Bradley, president, Avalonia Land Conservancy. “The Sheets Family Forest is a key connection in an expanding regional greenway that can eventually connect the resources in Pachaug State Forest all the way to Barn Island WMA in Stonington, CT. We are sincerely grateful to Paulann Sheets for her commitment to preserving this forest for future generations.”

Conserving this property will have a substantial impact on efforts to preserve clean water. The Sheets Family Forest is part of the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed, which recently received a National Wild & Scenic River designation through the National Park Service. By saving this important piece of the watershed, Avalonia is assisting in efforts to protect habitat for threatened and endangered species, as well as drinking water.

Historic stone foundations, a root cellar, and scenic stone-walled trails are located on the western side of the property. “There are significant opportunities for outdoor exploration,” said Terri Eickel, director of development & programming, Avalonia Land Conservancy. “We will be able to put at least one trail on the property and are hoping to incorporate educational opportunities highlighting indigenous and colonial history, as well as environmental and scientific points of interest, for an experience that will be enjoyed by all.”

In addition to hiking, trail running, and birding, the Sheets Family Forest will offer fishing access. The Sheets Family Forest has a half-mile of frontage on the Green Fall river, a forested river with native and stocked trout.

The purchase of the Sheets Family Forest was made possible through generous grants from the State of Connecticut’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Watershed program, as well as the Bafflin Foundation, the Summer Hill Foundation, and Ducks Unlimited.

The local community was also deeply committed to saving the forest as well. The town of North Stonington led a successful fundraising campaign with Sustainable CT, raising $30,000 in the final days of the campaign. This effort was supported by local Ledyard residents Jean and Robert Scialabba, who made a generous gift in memory of Robert’s cousin, Peter Scialabba, a U.S. Marine who was killed in a Beirut car bombing in 1982.

Eickel stated, “North Stonington is a beautiful town with wonderful open space and we are grateful to all of our donors and supporters for their contributions towards this successful campaign.”

Read about it in The Day: Avalonia Land Conservancy acquires North Stonington parcel known as ‘granddad’s forest’