Photo by: Robert Grigg

Saving Camp Iwatka

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Litchfield Hills Greenprint has brought together a remarkable conservation partnership to save over 311 acres of forestland at the headwaters of the Mad River in Norfolk, Connecticut. This is an outstanding opportunity of such national prominence that it has succeeded in attracting scarce federal funding from the Highlands Conservation Act and is recognized as a regional conservation priority by many organizations.

The opportunity to protect Girl Scout Camp Iwatka arose from this analysis of unprotected properties with high conservation value across our region.  Norfolk Land Trust recognized the opportunity to be a leader in a proactive and colaborative effort to save this property.  

Among the many superlative attributes of this property are the following:

  • Camp Iwatka’s 311 acres add to and enhance a network of adjacent protected lands in excess of 2,378 acres between Spaulding Pond and Beckley Bog in Norfolk.  Protecting this vital inholding will add to a corridor of conservation extending west over Great Mountain Forest and Canaan Mountain and on to Robbin’s Swamp and the Housatonic River.
  • The property lies at the headwaters of the Mad River, buffering the river corridor with an extensive area of upland forest that also protects the water quality of The Nature Conservancy’s adjacent Beckley Bog preserve.  It is prominently identified as a top priority parcel within in the CT DEEP’s Mad River / Upper Naugatuck Highlands Focus Area and will leverage $157,500 in Highlands Funding for this project.
  • The property affords expanded public recreational opportunities from the existing Norfolk Rail Trail.
  • The Property is part of the scenic viewshed of Grantville Rd. in Norfolk and visible from both the Norfolk Rail Trail and nearby Dennis Hill State Park.

Camp Iwatka

The land protection deal structure exemplifies the power of public / private partnerships.  The property is now under an option agreement between the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and Norfolk Land Trust with the potential to leverage.  Under this agreement, Norfolk can purchase the property for $630,000 if it is successful in leveraging a variety of federal, state and private funding sources. 

With Greenprint help, $157,500 has been made available in funding under the federal Highlands Conservation Act toward the purchase of a conservation easement over the property to be help by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).  Norfok Land Trust has applied for $283,500 under Connecticut's Open Space and Watershed Land Aquisition Program, and the Litchfield Hills Greenprint is helping Norfolk identify and secure the remaining $189,000 needed in private funds to complete the project.  Norfolk Land Trust has until mid February, 2013 to close on the property once full funding has been secured.

The effort to save Camp Iwatka Camp Iwatka has inspired that organization to consider conservation outcomes for some of its other holdings, including Camp Francis in Kent which is now an active land protection project of the Kent Land Trust.  We believe that these two projects together, each of which is seeking Open Space Grant funding to help accomplish their protection, are of the utmost importance and could lead to still more conservation of Girl Scout property elsewhere in the state if they are successful.

To learn more about these land protection efforts or how to direct your support toward their conservation, contact the Litchfield Hills Greenprint staff and we will put you in touch with our conservation partners.


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Photo by: Wendy Carlson