The Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program

The Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust program was created by the Legislature in 1986 in order to help preserve Connecticut’s natural heritage. It is the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) primary program for acquiring land to expand the state’s system of parks, forests, wildlife, and other natural open spaces. Through it, the DEEP manages the acquisition of land of statewide significance that represents the ecological and cultural diversity of Connecticut, with a focus on unique features such as rivers, mountains, rare natural communities, scenic qualities, historic significance, connections to other protected land, and access to water.

To ensure the property is compatible with the goals of the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Program, each potential acquisition is evaluated using a review system. It should possess one or more of the following attributes:

  1. It should provide high quality recreation opportunities, either active or passive.
  2. It should be a resource offering conservation to a unique, natural area or protection of a species considered threatened, endangered, or of special concern.
  3. It should correspond to an example of a prime, natural feature of the Connecticut landscape.
Landowner Acquisition Process

The DEEP purchases land from willing sellers. In many cases, the property owners contact the agency. In other instances, the Department or conservation organizations initiate contact.

If you wish to submit a property for consideration for purchase by the DEEP, please print and fill out the Prospective Land Acquisition Application. Pay special attention to the additional requirements of a map and a brief description of the property’s characteristics. Please note that submission of an application by the property owner or their agent constitutes permission for DEEP employees to inspect the land during the review process. Additionally, applications will be reviewed only if one of the following conditions is met: 1) Property is for sale on the open market, or (2) Property is not currently for sale on the open market, but the property owner has expressed interest in the current or future sale or donation of the property.

Mailing instructions are listed on the application. You will receive a letter confirming our receipt of your application. The review process takes between six and ten weeks, and a decision regarding DEEP’s interest will be mailed to you when finalized. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Starr in DEEP’s Division of Land Acquisitions and Management at (860) 424-3080, or by e-mail.

Prospective Land Acquisition Application: PDF Form   Word Form

Content Last Updated on February 28, 2018