August 15, 2020

Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme Closed Weekends Through Labor Day Due to Environmental, Safety Violations

A hazy view across the Connecticut River taken from the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve. Photo by Edie Twining.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Land Trust (OLLT) Board of Trustees has announced that the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme will be closed to all visitors from 7:30 p.m. on each Friday until 8 a.m. the following Monday from June through August. On Labor Day weekend, it will remain closed until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

These closures are to address continued preserve use violations, which damage the environment and pose safety concerns.

The board states in a press release, “This decision to limit access to Watch Rock has been a difficult one. We recognize that the beautiful Watch Rock setting has long provided significant enjoyment for many visitors who abide by the posted rules.”

A view looking south down the Connecticut River with the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve on the left shore. Photo by Edie Twining.

The release continues, “However, increasingly frequent and serious incidents of littering, OLLT signage vandalism, theft of newly planted native shrubs, open campfires, and late evening loitering have necessitated visitor access restrictions during the weekend periods when most of these issues occur.”

Noting, “This situation will be closely monitored, including by the police,” the board adds,  The effectiveness of the summer weekend closures will be evaluated to determine if additional steps are needed to prevent misuse and harm to this conservation land.”

In closing, the board says, “We are grateful for the continued understanding and support of all visitors, especially our members.”

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