Any acquisition of frontage along the Connecticut River is highly valued for its premium location and natural heritage significance. Eagle Landing State Park is no exception.
Like much of the Connecticut River’s floodplain, the Eagle Landing area was historically used for agriculture from well before the last century up through the 1960s. Since then, its use as home port for a cruise line brought building construction and surface parking. In its heyday, the line offered scenic trips through the lower Connecticut River Valley and across the Sound to Long Island.
But the greater story is the visitation and repopulation of the Valley by Bald Eagles. Today’s combination of riverine land preservation which provides suitable habitat, and the significant decrease in pesticide based food contamination has enabled the eagle population to rebound from a near total absence in the state in the 1950s to today’s winter sightings that number in the dozens.
There is little that compares to the sight of a bald eagle in the wild. Cold weather to the north forces eagles to the lower Connecticut and the months of January and February are the principle times to see them. In addition, the neighborhood is conducive to their presence. Just a few thousand feet downstream from Eagle Landing is the Nature Conservancy’s 255 acre Chapman Pond Preserve where eagles are known to visit regularly. And it isn’t just bald eagles that can be sighted. Much more rare, but having been observed recently, is the occurrence of golden eagles along the lower Connecticut River. Bring your field glasses or spotting scope but remember to not disturb any eagles you see and observe them from a distance
Today: In the early 2000s, the work to acquire the pieces that make up today’s 16 acre park began. Cruise lines operate from Eagle Landing: River Quests’ Connecticut River Expeditions, in conjunction with the CT Valley Steam Train located in Essex, and the Lady Katherine which offers a variety of summer cruises and winter eagle cruises departing from the park’s waterfront.
Benches, walkways and docks provide the year-round visitor with a respite from life’s stresses. Whether watching the boats in summer or hoping for a glimpse of our national symbol in the winter months, Eagle Landing is an easy visit year-round.