‘Hidden Jewel’ of New Canaan: Conservation Advocates Seek Funds To Help Restore Bristow Bird Sanctuary
The proposed capital budget for next fiscal year, now before the Board of Finance, includes a $200,000 earmark for the restoration of a long-neglected and little-known bird sanctuary in New Canaan—one of the nation’s oldest—that advocates describe as an essential piece of the town’s walkable “greenlink” connecting public parks. Those seeking to restore the Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve already have received funds from organizations such as the New Canaan Community Foundation for a master plan for the 17-acre parcel tucked between Old Stamford Road and Mead Park.
Drawn up by New Canaan-based landscape architecture firm Keith Simpson Associates, the plan calls for five major phases starting in the fall and wrapping up in 2024, the year that will mark Bristow’s centennial anniversary. It covers what Conservation Commission Chair Chris Schipper described to the Board of Selectmen last month as “the five Ps”: perimeter (fencing), paths, (bird-viewing) pads (with benches), pond (minor dredge) and parking (off Route 106). “I believe [the plan] will take this really kind of hidden jewel—it’s a beautiful little park—that will take it to a state that will add a little luster to New Canaan,” Schipper told the selectmen during a Jan. 21 budget hearing held at Town Hall.