Good Monitoring Makes Good Neighbors
Flanders manages 54 properties totaling 2,300 acres. Click and learn the process of monitoring our open space parcels, and how our team of 26 volunteer land monitors have gone high-tech building great relationships with our open space neighbors in the process.
As a Land Trust (and a Nature Center), stewarding Flanders 2,300 open space acres is one of our most important responsibilities, and is accomplished by our stellar Land Management Committee, a group of talented, dedicated, and well trained volunteers who are passionate about their roles. Mostly, their job is to look after the day-to-day tasks of monitoring and maintaining the 54 open space parcels Flanders holds (including some significant conservation easements) on properties in Woodbury, Middlebury, Bethlehem, and Southbury.
“Before Flanders became an accredited Land Trust, land monitoring wasn’t a super high priority,” said John Trainor, who ably chairs the Land Management Committee. “Now that we’re accredited, however, we want to make sure each property is monitored at least once a year.” He goes on to say… “There’s a written Management plan for every property we own. The management plans also written by volunteers detail, among other things, what is and isn’t a permitted use on each of these parcels.”
We then assign a Volunteer to hike and monitor each property annually. John adds, “Every once in a while, the monitor will come upon the occasional deer stand, or evidence of trees being logged, or perhaps even a neighbor unwittingly constructing a shed that has encroached over the property line.” The job of the monitor is to note these things, while assessing if it remains free from vandalism or other unwanted encroachments, and has largely remained in its “wild” and open state.”
John notes, “As part of the process we are beginning to go high tech, using GPS technology to determine and then mark the boundary lines for each piece being monitored. In the past, finding the property lines could often be challenging and included the use of maps and compasses and heavy orienteering skills just to locate the boundary lines. We’ll put markers or tape up if we know it’s truly the border, but it’s nerve-racking to do it because we aren’t professional surveyors.” He goes on, “however the use of GPS has really helped us, making the task of finding the perimeters and marking the boundaries a little more exacting.”