Spencer-Rice Preserve
Raymond Lane, Wilton, Fairfield County, Connecticut
 

Consist of two parcels:

a conservation easement;

a 16-acre purchase which has trails.


Directions:

Sprain Brook Parkway north to US 287 east; get off for the exit for the Merritt Parkway; get off at exit 39 for Route 7 north; at the end of the parkway extension, turn right at the light; turn left onto US 7 north; at the T-intersection turn left following Route 7 north (and Route 33 north); turn right onto Sharp Hill Road.  Drive 0.2 of a mile and turn right onto Raymond Lane.  Park entrance is up the hill 500' on the right. Parking is along side Raymond Lane.


History:

2001 (spring) The 16 acres were purchased from the Estate of Caroline B. Rice.

The town of Wilton owns the property. Conservation easements granted to the Wilton Land Conservation Trust & the State of Connecticut.


Habitats:

forested hillside, stream, vernal pool


Trails:

The trail system links this parcel to eight acres owned by the Wilton Land Conservation Trust to the south.


Source:

http://www.wiltonlandtrust.org/Spencer_Rice.htm


9/09/2005.  On a beautiful morning, Ceferino Santana, dog Sonar and I parked alongside an opening in the forest where we could see the Preserve kiosk.  Across from the trail, Hispanic construction workers were busy working on a huge home.  The kiosk has a trail map showing an almost square loop walk following the blue trail blazes.  To shorten it, one can take the yellow trail half way through the walk to return to the kiosk area. 

It was very dry in the area with very little moisture.  And there was very little vegetation at the herbaceous and shrub levels.  Lots of oaks here, as befits a dry area.  The land sits on top of a small hill that slopes north down to Sharp Hill Road. 

The trail system leaves a lot to be desired.  There is no obvious trail on the ground itself.  I thought it would be nice to take a rake and make an obvious ground trail.  Without any trail on the ground, we had to depend on the trail blazes.  But the person who applied the blazes does not know the trail system known to every hiker.  There were only single slashes with no indication of a turn.  So we had to be careful to look for the last maker to find a particular 90 degree turn. A couple of times we had to strain to find the  next blue marker.  We just kept turning left until we got back to the kiosk. 

Getting close to the kiosk I noticed on the right there was a red blazed trail taking the walker into the next-door property, owned by the Wilton Land Conservation Trust.

Just before reaching the kiosk, I noticed a large vernal pond on the right.  The area was very dry, but there was one small corner filled with water.  Around the pond were a number of red maples.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plants blooming on field trip, 9/09/2005


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Carya tomentosa ( mockernut hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Herbs:
Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)     *
Aster spp. (aster)     *
Commelina communis (Asiatic day flower)     *
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex pa. (Pennsylvania sedge)

Ferns:
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)

 

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