On June 6, 2015 over 40 hikers participated in CT Trail Day with members of the Orange and Woodbridge Conservation Commission. A guided walk of Racebrook Tract was led by Mike Rossi of Orange Conservation Commission. Orange Conservation Commission members attending were Sharon Ewen and Cindy Ruggeri. Woodbridge Conservation Commission member Jason Morrill and Trail Master Mike Walter also attended.
The Racebrook Tract encompasses nearly 400 acres of open space in the towns of Woodbridge and Orange and provides pristine near-wilderness exploration and passive recreation to all who visit it. The Tract was purchased from two farmers in the early 1900s by the New Haven Water Company, and the stone walls crisscrossing the Tract are the original farm fences. Under the direction of the Yale School of Forestry, the Tract was one of the first professionally managed forests in the country, and because periodic timber harvests were conducted by the water authority, the forest is delightfully open today.
Two relatively level and circuitous trails start in Orange and cross into Woodbridge. The longer trail is just over 2.5 miles. The trails pass through expanses of mixed hardwoods and impressive stands of 100-year-old white pines. Just off the parking lot, there is a handicap-accessible boardwalk going through some interesting wetlands.
Because of its large size, the Tract contains a wide variety of natural habitats and wildlife. Streambelts, forests, wetlands, meadows, and brush make the area attractive to a variety of animals and songbirds. Many species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the Tract along with avian predators such as the great horned owl.
The Orange and Woodbridge Conservation Commissions were formed to advise their Board of Selectmen on the preservation, development, and conservation of natural resources, including water resources, within the Towns of Orange and Woodbridge, respectively.
Pictured: Mike Ross, Orange Conservation leading CT Trail Days walk at Racebrook Tract