Get to Know: Pole Bridge Preserve
The Newtown Bee’s “Get To Know” series looks at local buildings and properties. Is there a building or property you would like to “get to know?” E-mail email@example.com with suggestions.
This week, we focus on Pole Bridge Preserve, off Pole Bridge Road. Newtown Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold contributed the answers below.
In what year was it purchased or established? Purchased in 2002, Pole Bridge was a prioritized parcel obtained under Newtown’s Open Space Acquisition Program. The preserve now consists of 78 acres.
The preserve’s dedication was held on May 31, 2003. It includes: 34 Pole Bridge Road, which was purchased with help of a 50% matching grant from the state. The purchase was supported by the town, the Open Space Task Force, and the Trust for Public Lands. Additional acreage at 52 Pole Bridge Road was obtained by the town as part of the Fox Hollow Lane development in 1979. Smaller parcels at 15 Bristle Lane and off Jeremiah Road were obtained by the town as part of the Feather Meadow subdivision in 1987/1989.
Who or what entity owns or oversees the property? The Town of Newtown
How large is the property? The full preserve includes 34 Pole Bridge Road (20.9 acres), purchased from the Aragones family by the town with help of the 50% matching grant; 52 Pole Bridge Road (22 acres); 15 Bristle Lane (4.8 acres); and the 3.8-acre parcel off Jeremiah Road.
Are there notable sights? If so, where? Wildlife found at Pole Bridge include fox, coyote, whitetail deer, skunks, and rabbits. Red-shouldered hawks and other raptors, short-eared owls, savannah sparrow, chickadee, cardinal, tufted titmouse, northern flicker, and junco have been observed; as well as eastern box turtle, salamanders, and native brook trout. It has a very healthy hemlock forest, which is rare to these areas.
Geological features include glacial till soils, rock outcroppings, wetlands, streams, vernal pools, charcoal mounds, forests, and meadows.
Trees and vegetation consisting of a variety of hardwood and softwood forests are noted in this preserve (hemlock; black, red and white oak; black birch; white ash; hickory; sugar maple; red maple; bigtooth aspen,;and black cherry). The diverse understory includes tree seedlings, hay-scented ferns, arrow wood, green briar, and several invasive species.
How long is the trail/are the trails? As marked at the kiosk on the site, the main trail is about half a mile and there are more trails.
What is one interesting fact about the trail/land? During the 2003 ribbon cutting ceremony, Rob Sibley, then ad hoc Open Space Task Force chair, noted that with the acquisition of 21 acres, a 115-acre preserve had been created because the Aragones property was linked to other town-owned parcels already set aside as open space.
What should visitors know? This land has a history of multiple uses such as agriculture, poultry and cattle farming, mineral and fossil prospecting, charcoal production, and firewood harvesting. It sits within the Housatonic River Watershed and is located less than one mile from Lake Zoar. More than 80 percent of the property drains directly into Pole Bridge Brook, a Class “A” rated watercourse.
What is the most common question you are asked about the property and the answer? Where is it and where should I park? 34 Pole Bridge Road. The best way to access the preserve is to walk up the old woods road off Pole Bridge Road. There is also access from neighborhoods: a marked narrow right-of-way easement off Fox Hollow and Bristle Lane cul-de-sacs and a pedestrian easement off Brandywine Lane.