Hundreds of acres in eastern Connecticut are in the process of being acquired by the state to expand existing parks and wildlife conservation areas, but thousands more need to be attained or protected in order to meet a fast-approaching goal.
The Connecticut Comprehensive Open Space Acquisition Strategy, or Green Plan, sets a target of preserving 673,210 acres or 21% of the state’s land by 2023. As of June 30, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimated that 508,718 or 75.5 % of the total open space goal had been reached.
“We still have a ways to go,” said Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, a private conservation organization. “What the state has been admitting for years is, it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to get to that goal. But we want them to keep pushing.”
Last week, Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut, announced that three federal grants totaling more than $560,000 were being awarded to the energy and environmental department to support future land acquisition at three sites in the region.