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. The town open space map was updated in December 2015 and a 22x30 inch print is available for purchase at the Conservation Commission office, Town Hall, and Books on the Common. Click here to view.
To help the town achieve its objective of 30 percent permanently protected open space (as per the town's Plan of Conservation and Development), 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.
Open Space Conservation Fund
The Open Space Conservation Fund, established in 1963, is used exclusively for the purchase of land. The fund accepts gifts of money, securities or property. It consists of donations from individuals and organizations in Ridgefield as well as monies received in lieu of open space obtained from subdivision redevelopment. The fund is eligible for matching grants of many businesses and organizations. The town welcomes donations to the Open Space Conservation Fund at any time. To make a donation, contact us at the Ridgefield Conservation Commission.
Land Swaps and Easement Changes
The commission oversees both open space and open space easements. From time to time the commission finds it advantageous to do land swaps and make changes to conservation easements. Guidelines that the commission uses for this process can be found here. These represent the factors that the commission considers when evaluating land swaps and easement changes.
Forest Stewardship Plan for the New York City Watershed
Upon request by the Conservation Commission, Connwood Foresters, Inc. prepared a 15-year (2011-2026) forest stewardship plan for selected properties in Ridgefield. An inventory of these properties was conducted in February of 2011 in order to determine how to best implement the natural resource stewardship objectives of the Town of Ridgefield. Click here to view the plan.