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printer friendly page A Plan of Open Space and Conservation

The Plan of Open Space and Conservation for the Town of Woodstock, CT is available for public distribution.

  • paper copy of the Plan can be obtained for a small fee at the Woodstock Town Hall, 415 Route 169, Woodstock, CT 06281, (860) 928-6595.
  • An electronic copy can be downloaded by clicking on A Plan of Open Space and Conservation. This is a PDF File - Adobe Acrobat Reader is required, and can be downloaded free by clicking on Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

A Plan of Open Space and Conservation for the Town of Woodstock
Executive Summary

INTRODUCTION

This Open Space and Conservation Plan was prepared by the Woodstock Conservation Commission with assistance from many local, regional and state governmental agencies, and advice and information from national non-profit groups. Thoughtful insights were also received from the over 200 Woodstock residents who participated in the Study Circles program.  The goal is to wisely manage land development and carefully protect the environment so that Woodstock remains a rural community with a balanced approach to sustaining its natural and cultural heritage. The Plan was accepted unanimously at a Woodstock Town Meeting on June 20, 2001.

NATURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY

The planning began with a comprehensive inventory of Woodstock's important natural, cultural and recreational resources.  The Commission developed a town-wide Geographic Information System (GIS) to support development of the plan.  The GIS is designed to aid in the work of other boards and commissions in the town as they build on the recommendations in this plan.

PLAN OF CONSERVATION

The plan includes general and specific recommendations and initiatives in four broad areas.  The goals and the associated recommendations are summarized below.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

GOAL: Establish a broad administrative and "action" framework for implementing specific recommendations.

  • Create a joint planning and conservation commission with representatives from the relevant commissions and/or hire a town planner to coordinate implementation of plans adopted by this commission.
  • Develop a town-wide greenways system to link scenic, natural, historic and recreational resources.  Coordinate with greenway corridor efforts undertaken in other towns and at the regional level.
  • Unite regionally in support of state policy that would compensate towns for maintaining their rural character.

WETLAND & WATER RESOURCES:

GOAL:  Protect ground and surface water quality for domestic use, recreational use, and for fish and wildlife habitat.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY:
  • Establish overlay zones to require development precautions or prohibit high-risk land uses in critical public water-supply watersheds, aquifer recharge areas and potential high-yielding aquifers.
  • Include clear watershed protection goals in the Town Plan of Conservation and Development with an emphasis on limiting the impact of impervious surfaces in Woodstock.
  • Amend Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency regulations to encourage the establishment of riparian corridor protection zones along all perennial and intermittent streams.  Routinely integrate use of appropriate natural resource inventory maps into future permit application deliberations by the Agency.
  • Initiate a public education program to highlight the importance of watershed protection and water quality issues.

AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES:

GOAL:  Preserve farmland and enhance commercially viable agricultural operations in Woodstock while respecting the rights of private property owners.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY:

  • Support local farmers and the agricultural business community by keeping Woodstock "Farm Friendly" through regulatory and voluntary initiatives.
  • Address the impact of traditional agricultural activity on nearby land use by establishing plans and guidelines for new residential development that address the practical requirements of modern agricultural activity.
  • Acquire development rights through voluntary participation in the Connecticut Purchase of Development Rights Program.  Provide information about federal, state, and other programs that offer grants for open space acquisition and cooperative management practices related to sustaining agricultural activity.

FOREST & WILDLIFE RESOURCES:

GOAL:  Conserve productive forests in a way that protects native wildlife populations, supports local forest based industry, preserves Woodstock' s rural character, and supports forest based recreational opportunities.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY:

  • Establish and preserve wildlife habitat by reducing forest fragmentation and encroachment, promoting conservation-sensitive planning for new development, and connecting existing forested habitat by designating habitat corridors.
  • Foster economically viable forest management practices and habitat protection through education, voluntary action and better land use decision-making by commercial interests, private citizens, and government.
  • Forge working relationships between the town commissions, town-based land trusts, and nationally based conservation organizations to assess and protect critical wildlife habitat in forested lands.

AESTHETIC, HISTORIC AND RECREATIONAL RESOURCES:

GOAL:  Assure the protection of aesthetic, historic and recreational resources so that current residents and future generations may appreciate and experience Woodstock's rural heritage.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY:

  • Protect key scenic resources and roadways by identifying visually sensitive areas and developing land use planning and design guidelines that preserve our rural areas and village centers.
  • Enhance the conservation of our local historic, archaeological and cultural resources by identifying these areas and integrating them into a town-wide cultural resources management plan.
  • Expand passive recreational opportunities in Woodstock by creating swimming areas and accessible, integrated systems of trails, greenways and open spaces designed with sensitivity to both natural systems and property rights.
  • Work with neighboring towns, regional agencies and other governmental and private organizations to coordinate preservation of aesthetic and historic resources, and create recreational opportunities in Woodstock.

CONCLUSION

Town government cannot and should not try to do everything that is needed to preserve our way of life and our open spaces.  It must find effective ways to coordinate the technical and financial resources offered by private organizations, state agencies and local volunteers. Our keys to success are a shared vision of the future, action by the community, and individual responsibility.  The Conservation Commission is committed to helping citizens of Woodstock connect with the appropriate resource to do whatever they feel they can to support the recommendations outlined in this plan.
A walk in the woods.  Photo by Doug Zimmerman.
Conservation Commission
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

- Henry David Thoreau