Taking a Hike – Fairfield County

The Saugatuck River in Redding, below the falls, above the reservoir

The Saugatuck River in Redding, below the falls, above the reservoir

You probably don’t hike in Fairfield County, CT unless you live here, or in an equally crowded place nearby. We are packed together tighter than the Dutch, and far emptier places to get outdoors lie only an hour or two away.

But if we are to hike often and green, we need to hike locally; and in this we are fortunate that Fairfield County still possesses some excellent landscapes.

Since, for a month and a half, I have not been able to hike anywhere, I used my “Taking a Hike” column this month to think about our local landscape and how it got to be the way it is. The column appeared this week at Hersam Acorn (With a bum knee, a hiker can still dream) and The Hour (‘Rambling’ around Fairfield County).

I have also just finished reading A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir. The book was a useful reminder that the best hiking places everywhere are not accidents of history, but places that men and women worked hard down the ages to preserve from development.

As development pressures increase, there is nothing inevitable about the survival of Fairfield County’s natural areas. We should actively support organizations that seek to protect and expand them, and make sure our town and state governments act as conservationists as well.

Regarding some of the places I mention in the column:

Pine Mountain is a Town of Ridgefield open space.
Trout Brook Valley is managed by Aspetuck Land Trust.
The Devil’s Den is managed by The Nature Conservancy.
The Mianus River watershed is protected by Mianus River Gorge, Inc.

We owe them our support.

150 years ago more of Fairfield County was field and meadow, and less was forest

150 years ago more of Fairfield County was field and meadow, and less was forest

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