Above (from left): Boulders Trail Leadership: Steep Rock's Mike Giapponi, John Santoleri, and Robby Barnet, November 19, 2022.
We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all the people who joined us on Saturday, November 19th for the Grand Opening of the Boulders Trail, a new, 1-mile sustainably built hiking trail in Macricostas Preserve that traverses scenic woodlands, glacial erratics, waterfalls, and vernal pools.
We were blessed with a great day and honored to have so many local neighbors attending as well as old and new friends from RI, MA, NY and the far corners of Connecticut. Thanks, too, to Bridgewater Land Trust, Housatonic Valley Association, and Connecticut Land Conservation Council for joining us! You made this a truly unforgettable event!
The Boulders Trail was constructed over four months by Mike Giapponi, SRA Trails Manager, Steep Rock Trustees John Santoleri and Robby Barnett, and dozens of hard working volunteers in collaboration with experts from Tahawus Trails LLC, a member of the Professional Trail Builders Association. Funding was made possible with a grant from Athletic Brewing Company and donations from these supporters.
Grand Opening slideshow:
Macricostas Trails Expansion Project History
A Campaign to Expand Macricostas Preserve into Pinnacle Valley and Beyond
With its breathtaking view over Lake Waramaug from the pinnacle at Waramaug’s Rock and its pristine wetlands for bird watching, Macricostas is a popular destination for visitors. Although Macricostas is the second smallest of Steep Rock’s preserves, its 4.5- mile trail to the pinnacle is one of the organization’s most heavily used. Macricostas Preserve was created by Steep Rock Association (SRA) in 2000 through the bargain-purchase of 238 acres of land from the Macricostas Family, funded by SRA donors, the State of CT and the Town of Washington. Other gifts and easements have increased the preserve to 560 acres. Today, we invite you to join us in protecting more of this important watershed land.
Pinnacle Valley… Over the past few years, SRA conducted reviews of land around the Macricostas Preserve and concluded that some of the highest conservation value land in the area is adjacent to its existing holdings. A pristine area long known as Pinnacle Valley, which abuts the northern boundary of the Macricostas Preserve, is high on the list. With several hundred acres of dense forest and verdant woodlands, Pinnacle Valley is conservation worthy for a number of reasons. In particular, it houses significant water features, important geological formations, diverse botanical and biological habitat, and noteworthy historical and archaeological sites.
Expanding into Pinnacle Valley would give SRA the opportunity to significantly increase the number and length of trails in the Macricostas Preserve, which are currently limited. About thirty percent of the existing preserve (including Waramaug’s Rock) is not owned by SRA but subject to easements that restrict trail access and invasives management. Pinnacle Valley’s existing trails, requiring little additional work, could add several signature hiking destinations to the preserve’s trail system.
…and beyond: In addition to Pinnacle Valley, we are working with landowners in the area around Macricostas to add acreage where it makes sense, including donations or purchases of fee land and easements. Our long-term vision is to double the preserve’s fee owned acreage (to 800 acres) and triple the trail length (to 15 miles), with potential connections to the CT Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail system. The entire project as planned would have minimal impact on town tax rolls. Since 2017, when SRA began discussing expansion of the Macricostas Preserve, a large number of nearby parcels have come onto the market. SRA is raising funds to acquire the parcels with highest conservation value and to enhance public access.
As of Fall 2021, we are raising funds to add two miles of trails on recently acquired land and to rebuild portions of the steep and heavily used Meeker Trail which provides access to the overlook and Waramaug’s Rock. This project will require $45,000 in funding and could be complete this coming summer of 2022 subject to funding.
Since we began this project in 2019, thanks to generous donors, SRA has acquired nearly 100 acres, a 25% increase in owned land at the Macricostas Preserve. These acquisitions include large wetlands and several streams which feed Lake Waramaug and Meeker Swamp. The Preserve now extends to the Warren town line. We have also added an additional trail to relieve congestion on the Meeker Trail.
Your gifts will help with additional acquisitions and donations of land or conservation easements to permanently protect Pinnacle Valley and improve public access. Donations to this project will be used for the installation and maintenance of trails to expand Macricostas Preserve into Pinnacle Valley and beyond or placed in a restricted stewardship fund that ensures permanent care and maintenance for Steep Rock’s conserved lands.
Macricostas Trails Expansion (Boulders Trail) Donors
Matthew and Jennifer Armas
Athletic Brewing Company, LLC
Jay and Elizabeth Chandler
David A and Kimberly A Gordon
John and Carol Santoleri
Andrew and Ann Bazos
John and Whitney Lancaster
Peary and B.K. Stafford
Up to $999
Tracy and Jeff Beck
Reiner Boehning and Elisabeth Glover
Luke and Terri Gunnell
Richard M. Heffernon
Larry and Marylyn Hendricks
Friso and Anne Hermans
David and Rebecca Holmes
Robby* Barnett and Susan Mandler
Guy Moszkowski and Sandra M Pinnavaia
John and Betsy Murphy
Timothy A Palmer and Regan Byrne Palmer
Gabriel and Lindsay Pizzi
Adam and Pamela Riess
Franz and Beth Schober
Sebastien Theibault and Celine Soudant
Ellen Giddins Stiteler
QUESTIONS? Call 860-868-9131
Please make checks payable to Steep Rock Association with a note stating the donation is for the Macricostas Expansion Project. Donations to this project will be used for the installation and maintenance of trails to expand Macricostas Preserve into Pinnacle Valley and beyond or placed in a restricted stewardship fund that ensures permanent care and maintenance for Steep Rock’s conserved lands.
Steep Rock Association
PO Box 279, Washington Depot, CT 06794