Land Use Policies
You are welcome to walk all of our trailed nature preserves. They are open dawn to dusk. Maps of all our trailed nature preserves can be found on our website. A few of our preserves have hard copy maps available at trail heads to guide your walk. They are: Trout Brook Valley (Easton/Weston), Stonebridge Waterfowl Preserve (Weston), Leonard Schine Preserve (Westport).
Land Trust members receive our 4-Town map of all of the trailed preserves and their parking areas in the four towns we serve. In general, parking is available near the entrance either in the Land Trust parking area or on the road side and parking is indicated on all of our web and preserve maps.
Where appropriate, trails are marked with trail blazes and location numbers so you can find your way. Please stay on the trails. In addition, do not remove any plants.
Dogs are allowed off leash unless otherwise indicated and must be under owner's control at all times. Please follow posted rules at each preserve. See below for more information.
We do not allow: smoking, camping, fires, littering, motorized vehicles or alcoholic beverages.
See the preserve maps on the website for other permitted activities such as mountain biking (Trout Brook Valley only), horseback riding, and fishing. Or request our 4-Town map which indicates various permitted activities.
Guidance for Dog Walkers
Dogs are allowed on all of our properties on-leash. Dogs are allowed off-leash on all of our 45 trailed nature preserves with the exception of three preserves: Trout Brook Valley (please see note below), the Newman Poses preserve in Westport, and the north half of the Stonebridge Waterfowl preserve in Weston. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the south side of Stonebridge. We restricted dogs to leashes on the north side of Stonebridge because dogs were chasing nesting ducks and other waterfowl. With regards to Newman Poses, there is significant ground nesting bird habitat on this nature preserve and the town of Westport and the CT DEEP recommended that dogs be leashed.
At the completion of the 2012 Wildlife Study conducted in Trout Brook Valley, new trail use policies were created to protect and preserve the abundant but fragile wildlife diversity that exists. These new policies affect the existing 21-mile trail system at TBV used by hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, dog walkers, birders, and others who enjoy the preserve. With the exception of the Crow Hill section's Blue/White trail, dogs must now be leashed at all times throughout the TBV preserve.
Off-leash dog walking is allowed only on a two-mile trail loop in the Crow Hill section of TBV accessible by four public parking areas in Easton. This trail is indicated by Blue/White trail markers. Elsewhere in TBV dogs are required to be leashed and always under their owner's control and to remain on designated trails.
Why should you leash your dog?
- When dogs swim in vernal pools and wetlands in springtime they destroy the hatching egg masses of salamanders and frogs. This problem is compounded after numerous dogs do the same thing on a hot weekend. If the eggs dont hatch, we have a reduced salamander and frog population and the interconnected web of life suffers.
- Off-leash dogs, intentionally or not, disrupt habitat, trample wildflowers and saplings, and drive off, stress and kill animals, birds and their young.
- Ground nesting birds can be chased from their nests by free-running dogs either on purpose or inadvertently. If it happens often, the birds wont return to the nest and reproduction cycles are interrupted, reducing wildlife.
- Off leash dogs jump on children and others. They can also bite visitors and other dogs. This has happened numerous times on our property.
- Scoop your poop. Dog poop is a primary source of Nonpoint pollution. The fecal coliform bacteria found in dog poop washes into our streams, wetlands and ground water. Its also gross. Failure to pick up dog waste in the Trout Brook Valley Conservation area in Weston will result in a $50 fine from the town of Weston.
- Failure to keep your dog leashed in the leash only area of the Trout Brook Valley Conservation area in Weston will result in expulsion from property by the Trout Brook Valley Ranger and/or a $75 fine from the town of Weston.
Aspetuck Land Trust does not prohibit dogs in any of our preserves. We are unique among Land Trusts and conservation groups, many of which either prohibit dogs or require them to be on leashes. We hope you enjoy your walk in the woods with your dog. Dog walking on conserved lands is both a joy and a privilege. To maintain this privilege we ask all dog owners to control their pets at all times. Please follow these rules:
- Dogs must stay on trails so as not to disturb flora and fauna habitat (also helps to lessen ticks).
- Owner must remove dog waste from trails (bring a baggie).
- Dogs need to be next to owner and under voice and sight control at all times.
- Dogs must yield to horses.
- Dogs must not jump on other hikers especially children.
- Dogs must not run into neighboring properties.
- Biking with off leash dogs is not permitted.
Some of our members enjoy walking their dogs at the following preserves: Haskins Preserve in Westport; Poindexter Preserve in Easton; Honey Hill, Elisabeth Moore, Taylor Woods & Tall Pines Preserves in Weston; and Harwood Preserve and Brett Woods in Fairfield (Town-owned).
Please read the Stamford Advocate article on dogs in North Mianus Park.
For an interesting video on voice & site control policies in Boulder, Colorado, please click here.
If you have any further questions or comments, please contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org.