Van Vleck family donates 20 acres

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Gail and Henry Van Vleck, in one of their favorite photos from years past.

Henry and Gail Van Vleck of North Granby have donated 20 acres of land on Loomis Street to the Granby Land Trust.

This property, which is located in one of the GLT’s priority conservation corridors, is bordered to the west and south by the Creamer Preserve, a 48-acre parcel that was donated to the GLT in 1975 by Cordelia Creamer Richards. To the north, it is bordered by the Massachusetts state line. The property will be called the Van Vleck Preserve.

Henry and Gail moved to Granby 47 years ago. They had built a house in Avon, but soon decided they didn’t enjoy the traffic on Route 44. They bought property on Silkey Road in North Granby, and have lived there ever since. “I like living close to nature,” says Henry. “I saw two bears in my yard last week and another across the street from my house this morning.”

Henry and Gail bought the Loomis Street property in 1981. “The property was surrounded by preserved land and I didn’t want to see it developed,” says Henry. “I think the GLT is a great organization. I think our property has gone to the right people.”

The Van Vleck Preserve is an undeveloped woodland made up of mature oaks mixed with other northern hardwoods and hemlock. The understory includes dense mountain laurel and white pine regeneration. An unnamed Class A watercourse flows through a wooded wetland on the eastern boundary of the Van Vleck parcel and discharges into Dismal Brook. The parcel has relatively high conservation value for several reasons. Combined with the larger Creamer Preserve, 68 contiguous acres are protected, preserving high quality habitat for mammals, forest-interior birds and sensitive amphibians and reptiles. State-listed species have been recorded near the Van Vleck parcel by the Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, and the site is within an area identified as the Crag Mountain Primary Conservation Area in Farmington Valley Biodiversity Study of 2006.

The Land Trust thanks Henry and Gail for their generosity and foresight.

To date, the Granby Land Trust owns approximately 275 acres in the Loomis Street Corridor and holds conservation easements on another 217 acres.