New Haven, Conn.—Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, applauds today’s announcement by Governor Malloy that Seaside Park in Waterford will become the first coastal state park in over five decades. Seaside will be Connecticut’s 108th state park and marks the 100th anniversary of the state park system.
“Our Long Island Sound region is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, and for decades some of our last great coastal places have been put at risk,” said Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound.
“Today the governor and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection took a stand, permanently protecting one of the Sound’s most exquisite stretches of shore and ushering in the first coastal state park in decades. This announcement is a double win for Connecticut residents: not only will Seaside provide significant public access along an increasingly limited coastline, it will also serve as a significant shoreline buffer and case study in resiliency during future storms. As citizens explore this 32-acre gem, uncover the wonder of its historic buildings, and stroll along its sandy beaches in the coming years, they will thank the local residents and elected officials who tirelessly fought to conserve this land and they will appreciate the state’s foresight in retaining this property for future generations to enjoy.”
The 32-acre property was formerly home to various healthcare services, and is now afforded permanent protection by today’s announcement. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and other state agencies will conduct a review of the property by the end of this year to determine how best to preserve its historic structures and build park facilities. Public meetings will be held to gather input from local residents.
This announcement follows another recent major victory for coastal protection. After a battle lasting more than a decade, Old Saybrook’s 1,000-acre parcel of coastal forest and wetlands known as The Preserve will be permanently protected, thanks to efforts by residents, nonprofits including CFE, the Trust for Public Land, and land trusts, and state and local government. Once slated to become a golf course and housing development, The Preserve will instead continue to shelter wildlife, protect migratory birds in their journey through the Atlantic flyway, filter drinking water, and provide miles of hiking trails to local residents.
Photos by Tyler Archer, Outreach & Development Associate for CFE & Save the Sound