Cooley Farm Preserved!

Cooley Collage

Connecticut Farmland Trust, in conjunction with Cornwall Conservation Trust, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and United States Department of Agriculture, is pleased to announce that Cooley Farm in Cornwall, Connecticut has been protected.

Cornwall Conservation Trust (CCT) purchased the property from the Cooley family at a price of $782,000, which is 66 % of the land’s appraised value. Funds were raised through various state and federal grants and private donations.  CCT appreciates the funding received from: a $450,000 Open Space grant from the Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection and a $225,000 USDA Farm and Ranchland Protection Grant.

The 85-acre farm, now known as Cooley Preserve, has 16 acres of open fields and 68 acres of mixed forest with a mosaic landscape of hemlock glades to dry hilltops to rich riparian forestland. To ensure the agricultural lands on the parcel could never be developed, Cornwall Conservation Trust approached Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) about holding a conservation easement on a portion of the property. The easement that CFT now holds covers 45 acres including prime, important, and locally important farmland soils. CFT is honored to serve as stewards of the land so that it will be forever available to farmers.

Margaret Cooley and her siblings are thrilled this preserve is now protected in “perpetuity.” Prior to her family’s 1940 purchase of the land, many generations of the local Hart family owned the property. Over generations, the land has been farmed by a “who’s who” of Cornwall families: Harts, Stevens, Simons and currently Scovilles.

Barton Jones, president of Cornwall Conservation Trust, said, “Our mission includes preserving both forests and farmland.  Conservation of this property does both, in addition to saving a place of scenic beauty. We couldn’t have preserved the Cooley property without the help of the Connecticut Farmland Trust.”