The Harwinton Land Trust is very happy to have received a recent (fall, 2019) acquisition of 2 acres of land adjacent to its Forever Forest nature area, located off of Whetstone Drive. The acquisition was donated to the Trust through a generous donation made by Charleen and Bernie (deceased 2017) Chevalier. Bernie and Charleen loved the woods behind their home, and years ago decided to donate a portion of their land to the Trust. Both were long time Harwintonians and ran their kennel on RT 118 for 50 years. They were also long time members of the Land Trust. Bernie was an avid outdoorsman and Charleen loved outdoor work, especially keeping their property in meticulous condition. Both were simply very nice people. Charleen recently moved from Harwinton to be closer to family. We wish her the best.
The 2-acre donation provided the Land Trust with complete ownership of a high ridge affectionately called “Bernie’s Overlook”. Bernie’s nephew, John Chevalier, helped install a park bench on the overlook in Bernie’s honor. Previously, a trail led to the overlook’s bench, but it dead-ended at our property line causing hikers to return on the same trail. By having complete ownership of the ridge, the Land Trust was able to extend the dead-ended trail as a loop around the entire ridge. This new loop (marked with blue blazers, see Forever Forest Printable Map) added a substantial length to Forever Forest’s hiking system and now provides nice views of surrounding marshland. The tip of the ridge also contains several large slabs of sandstone. These slabs may have historic importance, as these types of rock may have been used to produce whetstones at a “factory” site known to have been located nearby off of Whetstone Drive (perhaps its the old stone foundation found within Forever Forest). The Trust is currently has working to extend the trail farther beyond the ridge to “islands” in the marsh with a series of bridges and boardwalks.