Skip Hobbs

Recent Articles

SLIDESHOW: Walking the New ‘GreenLink’ Trail and ‘Greenway’ Loop in New Canaan

 

The “GreenLink Trail” to open at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in New Canaan—on Earth Day, as part of the New Canaan Land Trust’s plans—creates a new, walk-able loop that advocates have been dreaming about, as well as carefully planning, for some four years. It features an attractive, footbridge-laden trail that spans wetlands off of Weed Street, and ultimately helps connect Irwin Park to the New Canaan Nature Center. That trail is the final piece of a larger, pedestrian-friendly loop that runs from downtown New Canaan, up Elm, along Weed Street and into Irwin, then back along Weed and into the woods, across a conservation easement and onto Land Trust property, then into the Nature Center’s woods, up onto Oenoke Ridge and past God’s Acre into downtown New Canaan again. The captioned slideshow above tracks my hike of the trail and that larger loop on Wednesday, with our dogs Louis, Marvin and Dexter. A few fast facts on it (time and distance can be tailored):

2.2 miles
5,656 steps
50 minutes

The hike can vary from two to three-plus miles, depending on just where you want to start downtown and whether you choose to enjoy additional trails within the Nature Center. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen Signal Support for New Canaan Land Trust’s Purchase of Fowler Property

Town officials on Tuesday morning voiced support for a special appropriation to help a local organization dedicated to land conservation acquire a wooded 6-acre parcel now available for purchase. Though the three-person Board of Selectmen stopped short of an official vote—the discussion of the Silvermine Road property came before the trio as a non-voting, informational item—the group spoke in favor of helping the New Canaan Land Trust buy it. At the time of the selectmen’s regular meeting, the Land Trust was seeking $320,000 from the town to close the $1,070,000 purchase (overall, $1.3 million is needed). Selectman Nick Williams said that he was “generally supportive” of the Land Trust’s efforts to acquire what’s called the “Fowler property,” named for its owner, award-winning zoologist and longtime New Canaanite Jim Fowler. “These opportunities do not come along that often,” Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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Historic Ferris Hill Home To Be Rented, Back on Market in ‘Several Years’

Now that the property has been safely transferred, volunteers spent several hours Tuesday afternoon cleaning up a historic farmhouse on Ferris Hill Road in order to make it rentable in the next couple of months. Tom Nissley, who holds title to the property with his wife, Emily, said his long-term goal is to sell the 1735-built house at 8 Ferris Hill Road, though it could be “several years” before it’s ready to go on the market again. “Somebody who loves history is going to have to buy the house,” Nissley said. “My theory is that everything sells. There is always a buyer for things, and there are a lot of people who are interested in history.”

That’s a major reason why the historic farmhouse still stands. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is Really Exciting’: Conservancy Unveils Plan for Waveny Pond

Members of the private nonprofit group that formed to recommend, fund and oversee improvements to a portion of the grounds at Waveny on Wednesday night unveiled a dramatic plan to create a more visible, functional and attractive pond at the foot of the sledding hill. The Waveny Park Conservancy is calling for new trails, stream system, fishing dock, bridges and wildlife lookout area as well as a full dredge, re-routing of a conspicuous utility line overhead, installation of underwater bubblers to prevent hypoxia, improved spillway and extensive landscaping around the pond, such as the removal of several trees in order to restore the area to the Lapham family’s original vision and create better sightlines toward the main house, according to Keith Simpson, New Canaan-based landscaped architect and member of the group. “A project such as this is a major construction project, no question about it,” Simpson told members of the Park & Recreation Commission during their regular meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “We will be cordoning off a significant area, and we will be putting in erosion controls. All these things have to be done and they are costly. Continue Reading →

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‘Dream Greenway’ in New Canaan Poised for Important Step

The possibility of a “dream greenway” in New Canaan—essentially, a loop that would include a new walk through the woods between Weed Street and Oenoke Ridge Road—is poised to take a major step forward following an application formally received this week by town officials. A prospect that’s eagerly supported by both the New Canaan Land Trust and New Canaan Nature Center, including board President Skip Hobbs—a prospect, in fact, that includes land owned by each of those venerable nonprofit organizations—the greenway requires only a traversable 425-foot-long strip of land for completion (see map at right). That land is part of a private property on Weed Street, near the intersection at Wahackme. When that property, on the market for more than one year, recently received an accepted offer, advocates for the greenway—anticipating that its 9-acre lot likely would be subdivided—pointed out that in the case of subdivision, the town could take up to 10 percent of the property, as per New Canaan’s zoning regulations. This month, site plans for that subdivision emerged, including a conservation easement along the property’s northern edge—in other words, the very strip of land required to complete the greenway. Continue Reading →

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