By Ralph Urban, MxLT Secretary

In 2016, the State of Connecticut adopted into law its Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy, commonly referred to as the “Green Plan.” This five-year plan aimed to permanently preserve at least 21% (673,210 acres) of the state’s land as open space. The plan specified that the State’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) would hold 10% of this land, with nonprofit “partners” (land trusts, municipalities, and water companies) holding the remaining 11%.

Although the original plan was for five years, by the end of 2022, the goal had not been met, falling short by approximately 157,000 acres. As of the end of 2022, DEEP still needed to acquire about 100,000 acres to meet its part of the overall goal, while the nonprofit partners were approximately 57,000 acres short. This means DEEP had met 82.25% of its goal, and the partners had met only 71.5% of theirs.

While there has certainly been further preservation since the end of 2022 — the Middlesex Land Trust (MxLT) has achieved the preservation of or facilitated the preservation of important acreage since then — there’s little doubt that, seven years later, the overall goal still eludes the people of this state.

Thus, the challenge is still before us, and MxLT continues to vigorously pursue open space preservation opportunities in northern Middlesex County whenever and wherever they arise. As with the state’s goal, it’s important to recognize both what has been achieved and what still needs to be accomplished. Your ongoing support makes this possible. It is key to making Connecticut a great place to live and explore its natural heritage and beauty, and combat the effects of global climate change.