SHARON, October 11, 2022 – The Sharon Land Trust last month completed the purchase of the 170-acre Von Ahn Farm along Millerton Road in Sharon, guaranteeing the preservation of important farmland and forest along the southwestern side of Indian Mountain.
The Trust relied on a CT Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) grant, combined with funding under the federal Highlands Conservation Act, administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and private donations.
Protecting the Von Ahn land from private development will more than double the current acreage of conserved land on Indian Mountain. When combined with adjacent protected lands, including Sharon Land Trust’s Goodbody Preserve, as well as properties protected by Northwest Connecticut Land Conservancy, Housatonic Valley Association, the Salisbury Association, and the State Department of Agriculture, the Von Ahn Preserve will be the heart of a 500-acre block of forest and farmland.
The purchase ensures a continuous belt of protected land between Indian Lake and Mudge Pond, including nearly 1 mile of undisturbed ridgeline, 3 acres of wetlands, headwaters that drain into Indian Lake, and 120 acres of core forest populated with hemlock, pine, and hardwoods between 60-100 years old. This property is home to 11 species of rare, endangered or threatened flora and fauna, including the timber rattlesnake and the American kestrel
The acquisition will create a continuous corridor of protected lands to support the migration of wildlife, health of keystone species, and overall wildlife and plant diversity. It will also become a valuable resource for recreation. The Trust plans to build a public 2.5-mile hiking trail loop that will connect to the existing trail system at the adjacent Goodbody Preserve. The new trail is slated to open in Summer 2023.
The Sharon Land Trust would like to acknowledge Kathy Blackshaw and her vision and generosity to protect the land that her and the late Otto VonAhn have lived on for over 40 years.