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A Conservation Commission has two critically important jobs," says Steve Broderick, Extension Forester Entering Woodstockwith the UCONN Cooperative Extension System, and co-director of the Green Valley Institute.  "The first is to become as knowledgeable as possible about the environment and the important natural resources in town. The second is to share that knowledge with town decision-makers and the public, so those resources are both protected and enjoyed."  The Woodstock Conservation Commission decided to set up this website to help meet one of the key goals in A Plan of Open Space and Conservation, which is reaching out and educating the community. 

There is a lot of information about Woodstock on the official tow n website (government, history, recreation, links, etc.). 

Here are some relevant environmental and natural resource-related facts about our town:

  • Settled in 1686 as New Roxbury, by a group of settlers from Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, on land purchased from the Mohegan tribe.
  • Woodstock Conservation Commission established in 1968. Separate Inland Wetlands Commission established in 1974.  The Woodstock Land Acquisition Fund and the Open Space Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee were created in 1999.
  • Located in the northeastern corner of Connecticut (also known as the Quiet Corner), within an hour of Hartford, Providence, Worcester and Springfield. Consists of the villages of East, West, North, and South Woodstock; Woodstock Hill; and Woodstock Valley. Bordering towns (clockwise, starting to the north) are Southbridge and Dudley, Massachusetts; and Thompson, Putnam, Pomfret, Eastford, Union, Connecticut. (See Connecticut town map).
  • Second largest town in Connecticut after New Milford; two to three times as large (area wise) as most Connecticut towns. Total area of Woodstock is 61.8 square miles, or 39,550 acres. Of that, only about 2,964 acres (7.49%) of land in the town is committed open space.
  • Year 2001 Population: 7,332; compared to 6,008 in 1990 (22% growth in 11 years. The average increase for the nine northeastern states from 1990-2000 was 5.5%).  Population per square mile: 121 (compared to the Connecticut average of 682).
  • Part of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley Natural Heritage Corridor.  Area has been called "the Last Green Valley" in the Boston-to-Washington corridor. Pilots also refer to it as the "dark spot," since there is very little light pollution when viewed at night, compared to urban and suburban areas.
  • In 1686, Woodstock was 95% forested. By 1886, it was about 30% forested and 70% farmland.  By 1986, about 65% of the town was woodlands again.
  • Agriculture remains a viable industry. Woodstock has somewhere between 39 and 46 active farms. This includes 13 operating dairy farms (down from 16 two years ago, but still more than any other town in Connecticut.)
  • Forest-based industries include tree farms, sawmills, and maple sugaring. Three private forested campgrounds, and large parcels within the State of Connecticut Nipmuck Forest and Yale Forest.
  • Within plant Hardiness Zone 5b.
  • 250+ acres of town owned land. Largest parcel is 111 acres (near Perrin Rd. and the Pomfret town line), currently being managed for timber.
  • Fourteen locally designated scenic roads, and one National Scenic Byway (Rte. 169).
  • Surface geology: bedrock underlying all of Woodstock metamorphic schist and gneiss.
  • Three types of groundwater aquifers: bedrock, glacial till, and stratified drift.  Largest stratified drift aquifer area in town is in the Muddy Brook/Little River Valley. 
  • Except for part of South Woodstock near the fairgrounds, everybody currently depends on a septic system to handle their household wastewater.
  • Surface water is generally high quality, meeting fishing and swimming standards.  Woodstock residents rely on wells for their water supply, but much of Woodstock is within the Southbridge, Putnam or Willimantic public water supply watersheds, supplying water to these neighboring towns. (Note: about 20 homes/business in the Harrisville section of Woodstock receive water from the Putnam system.)
  • One industrial site is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Priority List (Superfund).
  • Four lakes are accessible to the public: Muddy Brook Pond (also known as Pond Factory), Black Pond, Crystal Pond (Crystal Pond Park), and Roseland Lake.
  • Several streams managed for Put and Take trout fishing by Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection, Fisheries Division.
  • Some water bodies in town have aquatic invasive species present such as variable water milfoil. An exception is Crystal Pond.
  • Approximately 40 Threatened, Endangered, or Species of Special Concern may exist in Woodstock.  Woodstock contains Atlantic White Cedar Swamps, considered one of the most imperiled ecosystems in Connecticut.

More Information and References:

Conservation Commission
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it,
can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

- Galileo Galilei