The Ridgefield Conservation Commission consists of nine volunteer Ridgefield residents who serve the town for staggered 3-year terms. Commissioners are appointed by the Board of Selectmen to devote their efforts to the sound development, conservation, supervision and regulation of the town's natural resources including water resources. The commission includes the Invasives Committee and the duties of the Flood and Erosion Control Board. The Conservation Commission was established in 1962 by Town Ordinance after enabling legislation was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1961.
Current Commission Members
Eric Beckenstein, Chair
Susan Baker, Timothy Bishop, Carroll Brewster, James Coyle, Dave Cronin, Jack Kace, Benjamin Oko, Alan Pilch, Kitsey Snow
The duties of the Commission include the following: looking after the Town’s open space including trail maintenance, posting and protecting; acting in an advisory capacity to Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetlands on the impact of development on the environment; adding lands to the Town’s inventory of open space by acquisition and by encouraging donations.
Applicants will need to be able to meet every other Monday night at 7:30pm, and attend occasional Friday morning site walks and Tuesday night P&Z meetings on a rotating basis. Other considerations are time and willingness to help with trail maintenance, land use expertise, natural resource knowledge and an interest in promoting the work of the Commission through education and outreach.
The Commission maintains a small office on the second floor of the Town Hall Annex, 66 Prospect Street, staffed by a part-time administrator. The office is open to the public on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Commission shares a part-time Inland Wetlands Agent with the Planning and Zoning Department.
How to Reach Us
2016 Meeting Schedule
Meetings are held at 7:30 p.m in the small 1st Floor Conference Room, Town Hall Annex (66 Prospect Street) on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month unless otherwise noted.
- January 11 & 25
- February 8 (Meeting canceled due to weather) & 22
- March 7 & 21
- April 4 & 18
- May 9 & 23
- June 13 & 27
- July 11 & 25
- August 22
- September 12 & 26
- October 17 & 31
- November 14 & 28
- December 12
Open Space Management and Acquisition
The Conservation Commission keeps an index of all open space areas in the town to ensure their proper use and manages more than 2,500 acres of open space, including 40 areas with developed trails. This is done with help from volunteer open space rangers and a seasonal two-person crew.
To help the Town achieve its objective of 30% permanently protected open space, the Conservation Commission plans for open space acquisitions by cultivating relationships with land owners and routinely updating a listing of desired open space.
Open space is acquired through donations of land and through purchases funded by the Open Space Conservation Fund and town funds. The Open Space Conservation Fund, established in 1963, consists of donations from individuals and organizations in Ridgefield as well as monies received in lieu of open space obtained from subdivision redevelopment. Learn more about the Open Space Conservation Fund.
Ridgefield Open Spaces
Catalog of Ridgefield Open Spaces with Trail Maps
Open Space Rules
The Conservation Commission reviews land use applications that lie adjacent to town open spaces or that concern wetlands, water resources, and natural resources; conducts site inspections; and attends meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission to provide advisory comments to this Commission and the Inland Wetlands Board.
The Conservation Commission works in cooperation with the Parks and Recreation Department in the sound management of the Town's multipurpose properties. The Commission partners with the state to maintain trails at Seth Low Pierrepont State Park, and with The Friends of Bennett's Pond which is the designated steward of Bennett's Pond State Park in cooperation with the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The Commission also coordinates activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes.
The Commission prepares books, maps, plans and other materials when necessary to assist residents dealing with natural resource issues.
Ridgefield Natural Resource Inventory (NRI)
Click here to view the NRI
Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership
Click here to view the FCRCP
Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT)
Click here to view NRVT
Click here to view the Ives Trail
Other Environmentally Conscious Groups in Town
Caudatowa Garden Club. The objective of the Caudatowa Garden Club of Ridgefield is to promote an interest in and a knowledge of gardening and horticulture, to develop an understanding of and a proficiency in floral arranging, to beautify and improve the home and the village of Ridgefield, to develop an appreciation of and a concern for our natural resources and to promote the building of friendships through common interests.
The Discovery Center at Ridgefield is a non-profit organization whose goal is to foster a love of nature, and interest in science, and an appreciation of history and the cultural arts in all persons, particularly the young.
Land Conservancy of Ridgefield. One of the oldest land trusts in Connecticut, the not for profit Land Conservancy of Ridgefield was founded in 1967 with support from the Ridgefield Conservation Commission to preserve Ridgefield's open space. The Land Conservancy holds over 680 acres of property in either outright gifts or in conservation easements.
The Ridgefield Garden Club. Founded in 1914, the Ridgefield Garden Club strives to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening in its members and in the community; aids in the protection of natural resources, native plants, and wildlife; and encourages civic improvement.
RACE Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment works for a clean environment.
Ridgefield Open Space Association (ROSA) was instrumental in preserving Bennett's Pond as open space. ROSA is dedicated to the preservation of open space and protection of the region's natural heritage through education and public advocacy.
Forest Stewardship Plan for the New York City Watershed
Current Conservation Topics
Trail maps for Ridgefield open spaces can be found in the Ridgefield Walk Book, the most recent edition of which is the 2006 Edition. The Walk Book may be purchased at the Conservation office, Town Hall, and at book stores in town.
More detailed maps of Hemlock Hills/Pine Mountain and Pierrepont State Park are shown below. Detailed maps of other open spaces can be found in the Catalog of Open Spaces .
Click on the pictures to download a full size image of a trail map in PDF format that you can print: