- 2016 Elections
- Special Reports
- Maps & Data
- Dear Abby
- Games & Puzzles
- Events & Exhibits
- Food & Drink
- Arts & Music
- Movies & TV
From a water’s-eye view on the Niantic River, an unbroken swath of green rises majestically on East Lyme’s western bank that contrasts with the houses, marinas and nuclear power plants spread out on the eastern shore and beyond.
These are the Oswegatchie Hills, a 420-acre Nature Preserve that comprises one of the largest sections of open space along Connecticut’s highly developed shoreline.
The preserve’s views reward from land as well as from water. Officially opened in 2007, it includes more than 3 miles of trails that meander past an abandoned pink granite quarry, alongside ponds and streams and through dense forest. Along with the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Bluff Point Coastal Reserve in Groton and Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve offers some of the best hiking with water views in southeastern Connecticut.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Aug. 18, a group devoted to preserving the hills plans to stage its ninth annual Niantic River Appreciation Day Kayak Regatta, partly a parade, partly a race but mostly a celebration of efforts to keep the hills unspoiled. I hope to be there to support the cause and to enjoy a paddle among fellow kayaking enthusiasts.
The free event is sponsored by the organization Save the River-Save the Hills, which for nearly a decade has been fighting to block or limit a Middletown developer who has repeatedly applied to build a high-density housing complex in the hills adjacent to the preserve. I hope the preservationists win, because, as is sadly often repeated, once such treasured land is built upon it is forever devalued and defaced.
Save the River-Save the Hills also has sponsored programs on water quality testing, watershed education and a pumpout boat. More information about the group and Saturday’s event is available on the website SavetheRiver-SavetheHills.org.
Participants may launch their kayaks at 10 a.m. or earlier at Three Belles Marina, 113 Oswegatchie Hills Road, Niantic.
The parade starts at 10:15 in front of 47 Oswegatchie Road, followed by short races for different classes of boats at 1 p.m.
There will be music, food, a fire boat demonstration and a drawing for prizes.
Hope to see you there!
All of us who have ventured atop mountains, out to sea, or simply into a nearby park have occasionally faced Mother Nature’s wrath – a sudden thunderstorm, pounding blizzard, gale-force winds, locusts …
Some years ago, preparing to hike the Hundred Mile Wilderness – the final stretch of the fabled Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, I stuffed my backpack with what I initially considered to be the absolute bare minimum for a week in...
When I was a kid, the Fourth of July was one of the year’s high holy days, right up there with Halloween and the last day of school, because that was when my parents took my sister and me to the beach for the annual fireworks...
Many people I know share my passion for outdoor recreation but I also have a little secret: Between rounds of kayaking, hiking, gardening, wood-splitting and other activities I also savor the simple act of lounging quietly on a sunny day in a...
A refreshing breeze cooled me despite a blazing late-afternoon sun as I scrambled up the final rocky slope to the 4,121-foot summit of Maine’s Saddleback Mountain earlier this week, but I paused for only a moment to gaze at the glorious,...
During decades of traipsing through the wilderness I’ve slept, or attempted to sleep, in every conceivable indoor and outdoor quarters: in freshly dug snow caves; alongside bug-infested swamps; during thunderstorms with no tent; in the...
The awful story this week about a 2-year-old boy who witnesses said was pulled by an alligator into a lagoon near a Walt Disney World hotel in Orlando, Florida and later found dead serves as a reminder that danger lurks even in "The...
While kayaking the other morning I spotted a small, dark object poking above the lake surface 100 yards or so ahead, and I was pretty sure it was the head of a turtle until I drew closer and realized the sad truth: just another beer...
Shortly before the start of the late-great Rose Arts Road Race several years ago, a 10.47-mile running competition over the hills of Norwich considered one of New England’s toughest courses, my friend Bob and I decided to jog a couple miles...