Bluff Point State Park

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Bluff Point State Park
Connecticut State Park
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County New London
Town Groton
Elevation 108 ft (33 m) [1]
Coordinates 41°19′30″N 72°01′43″W / 41.32500°N 72.02861°W / 41.32500; -72.02861Coordinates: 41°19′30″N 72°01′43″W / 41.32500°N 72.02861°W / 41.32500; -72.02861 [1]
Area 806 acres (326 ha) [2]
Established 1963 [3]
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location in Connecticut
Website: Bluff Point State Park

Bluff Point State Park is a Connecticut state park located in the town of Groton. The park occupies an undeveloped peninsula on Long Island Sound between the Poquonnock River and Mumford Cove. The park contains a barrier beach, steep cliffs, forested sections, and tidal wetlands.[4] Recreational opportunities include boating, saltwater fishing, shellfishing, and hiking[3] as well as mountain biking.[5]

History[edit]

Bluff Point's use was first recorded to be used by the native American tribes dating to the 1600s though its first date of usage is unknown.[6] It was once asserted that the Pequots migrated to central and eastern Connecticut from the from the upper Hudson River Valley in 1500. This claim originated from Reverend William Hubbard's publication Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians in New-England in 1677. In the text, Hubbard claimed that the Pequot invaded the area prior to the establishment of Plymouth Colony, and referred to them as foreigners from the interior of the continent.[7] Archaeological, linguistic, and documentary evidence now available clearly demonstrates that the Pequot were not invaders to the Connecticut River Valley, but were indigenous for thousands of years.[8] In 1649, the Town of New London granted John Winthrop the Younger a plot of land that became the plantation known as Winthrop's Neck, it included the land now known as Bluff Point State Park, Haley Farm State Park, Mumford Cove, and Groton Long Point. Later the plot of land would be divided into Great Farm, also known as Bluff Point, and the Fort Hill Farm.[9] Sometime after the Pequot War a single farmhouse was constructed upon the land, its foundations are still visible today. The farm's crops included blackberry bushes and apple trees which have continued to thrive on the land.[6] According to Groton Revisited, the house was constructed circa 1712 by Edward Yeomans on the land leased by the Winthrop family.[10] According to legend, a boulder on the beach, known as Split Rock, suddenly split with "the sound of a cannon shot" in January 1780.[11] Leary notes that it was likely split by freezing water that expanded in a crack in the rock.[11]

According to Maura Hallisey, Bluff Point was originally proposed as a state recreation facility as early as 1914, but was not yet realized.[6] In 1892, Walter Denison opened a summer resort on Bushy Point. As interest in camping rose in the 1910s, Bluff Point became a popular destination by the 1920s. Tents and shacks grew into a small community of summer cottages by the 1930s, having more than 100 homes at its peak. The owner of the property decided to stop subleasing the property in June 1938, with the termination in October 1 and the removal of the structures by November 1.[11] Leary writes, "[b]efore a legal protest could be mounted, nature adjudicated the issue. On September 21, 1938, a massive hurricane came ashore at high tide. Except for the old Winthrop place, it destroyed nearly every building on the site."[11] In 1907, Bluff Point was encompassed in 1135 acres of land, known as Poquonnock Farm, that was leased by John Abbott Ackley. The northern portion of Poquonnock Farm was Fort Hill, where Ackley's a productive potato fields were located. During World War II, the United States government took possession of the land to build temporary housing for the workers of Electric Boat.[10] The Winthrop House burned on September 14, 1962, leaving only a standing chimney that would later be used to reconstruct the Ebenezer Avery House's chimney following its relocation to Fort Griswold.[11]

The State of Connecticut acquired the western one-third of Bluff Point from Henry A. Gardiner III in 1963. During that time, the State sought to acquire the land because Bluff Point was the "last remaining significant portion of undeveloped shoreline in Connecticut" and that its "rocky bluffs standing behind narrow beaches typified the Connecticut coast."[11] The Bluff Point Advisory Council, a committee formed of local citizen groups and government representatives, successfully petitioned the state to acquire the land and protect it. The Connecticut legislature established Bluff Point as a Coastal Reserve in 1975. The act gave Bluff Point State Park the highest possible protection in the State Park system and serves to protect the high number of endangered and threatened species that are found within the park.[11]

Activities[edit]

Bluff Point State Park is a popular location for picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, saltwater fishing and shell fishing, bird watching and cross-country skiing.[3][11] Leary notes the importance of visitors using the established trails due to the number of endangered and threatened species.[11] Fish at Bluff Point include striped bass, sea trout, bluefish and summer flounder.[11]

To access Bluff Point State Park, take Exit 88 on Interstate 95 and proceed onto Connecticut Route 117 heading south. After turning onto Connecticut Route 1, take a left onto Depot Road at the first traffic light. At the end of Depot Street is the parking for the park.[3] The park has free parking on gravel, composting toilets and a car top boat ramp.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bluff Point State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (January 23, 2014). "State Parks and Forests: Funding" (PDF). Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. p. A-1. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Bluff Point State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Bluff Point State Park and Reserve". Connecticut Coastal Access Guide. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bluff Point State Park". Connecticut. New England Mountain Bike Association. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "Bluff Point State Park". CPTV. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  7. ^ William Hubbard, The History of the Indian Wars in New England 2 vols. (Boston: Samuel G. Drake, 1845), vol. 2, pp. 6-7.
  8. ^ For archaeological investigations disproving Hubbard's theory of origins, see Irving Rouse, "Ceramic Traditions and Sequences in Connecticut," Archaeological Society of Connecticut Bulletin 21 (1947): 25; Kevin McBride, "Prehistory of the Lower Connecticut Valley" (Ph.D. diss., University of Connecticut, 1984), pp. 126-28, 199-269; and the overall evidence on the question of Pequot origins in Means, "Mohegan-Pequot Relationships," 26-33. For historical research, refer to Alfred A. Cave, "The Pequot Invasion of Southern New England: A Reassessment of the Evidence," New England Quarterly 62 (1989): 27-44; and for linguistic research, see Truman D. Michelson, "Notes on Algonquian Language," International Journal of American Linguistics 1 (1917): 56-57.
  9. ^ "Haley Farm: A History". Groton Open Space Association. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Carol W. Kimball, James L. Streeter, Marilyn J. Comrie (2007). "Groton Revisited". Arcadia Publishing. pp. 28–29. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Leary, Joseph (2004). A Shared Landscape: A Guide & History of Connecticut's State Parks & Forests. Friends of the Connecticut State Parks, Inc. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0974662909. 

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