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Group of board members announcing land trust merger

When land trusts conserve natural or working lands in their communities, they make a promise to protect that land in perpetuity. This promise is unique to land trusts, and ensures that the work we do today can be experienced and appreciated for generations to come.

CLCC helps land trusts uphold this promise of perpetuity through programs such as the Advanced Collaboration and Merger Assistance Program. By exploring different forms of partnership, and supporting joint ventures, CLCC helps participating land trusts build and grow their organizational health and effectiveness.

After participating in CLCC-led regional roundtables, the boards of the East Granby, West Hartford, and Wintonbury Land Trusts recognized that their organizations had much in common. Through a feasibility study, they explored opportunities for closer partnership – ultimately agreeing that coming together as a regional land trust would be a mutually beneficial outcome. Guided by CLCC and consultant Sharon Danosky, the land trusts worked steadily towards a goal of building a new organization that would be greater than the sum of its parts.

This process was nearly three years in the making, and yesterday, the group announced the creation of Connecticut’s newest regional land trust, the Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy, (read more, below).

I applaud these land trusts and their memberships for coming together to build a stronger organization, and taking an important step in upholding the promise of perpetuity.

If you’d like to learn more about CLCC’s Advanced Collaboration and Merger Assistance Program, or discuss opportunities for collaboration or partnership in your region, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Aaron Lefland
Deputy Director
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Bloomfield, CT, April 27, 2023 – The members of East Granby Land Trust, West Hartford Land Trust, and Bloomfield’s Wintonbury Land Trust recently voted to combine forces. On April 10 they merged to form the Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy with plans to help those communities protect the environment, preserve local farming and connect residents with the outdoors.

“Our land trusts served important roles preserving open space to maintain the character and quality of life residents enjoy in our communities. The formation of Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy will help the region better protect farmland, waterways, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and education for the benefit of current and future generations.”
Amanda Thompson, President of the Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy
President of the former East Granby Land Trust

Presenting merger plans on tv screen at a board meeting

Victor Herson, presents the plan of merger to the Wintonbury Land Trust’s membership, which went on to unanimously approve the merger.

The land trust’s mission is to conserve, improve and study the region’s natural resources for the public’s benefit, including the traprock ridge shared by the three towns and the Farmington River and Park River watersheds. The merger plan honors restrictions on how previously donated lands can be used and continues projects already underway in each town. Members and volunteers now protect a combined 49 properties totaling 642 acres that include numerous nature preserves, four working farms, community gardens and education programs.

Leaders expect pooling resources will boost and sustain those efforts.

“We are excited to join forces with our neighbors and strengthen efforts to conserve land and connect people with nature. Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy will provide the foundation for efficiencies and expanding resources that ensure sustainability and success in the future.”
Victor Herson, Board Member, Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy
President of the former Wintonbury Land Trust

“The merger is the culmination of almost two years of collaboration and planning to increase the sustainability of land acquisition and conservation in our community. This brings together a larger group of like-minded supporters to significantly increase our impact on the environment across the region.”
David Sagers, Treasurer, Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy
President of the former West Hartford Land Trust

Map of towns with East Granby, West Hartford

The merger creates a regional land trust along the traprock ridges of CT.

Leaders from the three land trusts began exploring opportunities to work together in 2021 during workshops with the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. The Council provides training and recommends policies to ensure the long-term viability of land conservation efforts in the state.

The land trusts received a grant from The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation to study the feasibility of merging and then develop a plan. Representatives then worked with the Danosky & Associates consulting firm and nonprofit experts at the law offices of Murtha Cullina. Attorneys from Hogan Lovells and Shipman & Goodwin also provided assistance through the Pro Bono Partnership.

The merger creates a regional land trust along the traprock ridges of CT.

“Land trusts make a promise to conserve land in perpetuity. East Granby, West Hartford and Wintonbury Land Trusts have demonstrated their commitment to upholding that promise by coming together to form a stronger, more enduring organization.”
Aaron Lefland, Deputy Director
Connecticut Land Conservation Council

“The Foundation congratulates the East Granby, West Hartford and Wintonbury Land Trusts for having the vision to map out a new future that will take advantage of each organization’s history, enthusiasm and vision to continue protecting natural areas and offering community-based programs.”
Bob Canace, Senior Program Officer
The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation

Traprock Land Conservancy board members with CLCC Deputy Director Aaron Lefland and consultant Sharon Danosky

The Traprock Land Conservancy Board includes student board members. Pictured with the board are consultant Sharon Danosky, who facilitated the merger implementation, and CLCC Deputy Director, Aaron Lefland.

Traprock Ridge Land Conservancy’s new board of directors met on April 26 in Bloomfield. Members of the merging land trusts elected directors and officers from each of the three towns, including student directors from East Granby Land Trust’s internship program. Members and volunteers will organize new committees for land conservation, education programs, and fundraising.

More details, including contact information, are available at www.trlandconservancy.org.

Collage of people enjoying nature