Bennett's Pond State Park
|Bennett's Pond State Park|
|Connecticut State Park|
Stream from Bennett's Pond in winter
|Elevation||525 ft (160 m) |
|Area||460 acres (186 ha) |
|Management||Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection|
|Website: Bennett's Pond State Park|
Bennett's Pond State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located in the town of Ridgefield in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The state park occupies part of a larger estate once owned by industrialist Louis D. Conley. The park features the 56-acre pond for which it is named and many miles of hiking trails in a pristine woodland environment. In addition to hiking, the park also offers fishing, biking, and seasonal bow hunting. It is contiguous with Wooster Mountain State Park and is crossed by the Ives Trail.
In 1914, tinfoil magnate and arboreal philanthropist Louis D. Conley (1874-1930) retired to Connecticut and the 1500-acre estate that he called Outpost Farm. Among other improvements on the estate grounds, Conley initiated the creation of what would become one of the leading nurseries on the East Coast of the United States. After Conley's death from meningitis at the age of 56, nursery operations continued for another 15 years. Examples of the tree species nurtured here can be found throughout the park, though most other signs of the estate have disappeared.
In the 1970s, the estate passed into the hands of computer giant IBM, which razed Conley's 34-room mansion in 1974 and sold a large portion of the land to a commercial developer, Eureka V LLC, in 1997. Local opposition to the developer's plans for a golf course, hotels, conference centers and condominiums resulted in protracted legal maneuvering that ended with the town acquiring 458 acres from Eureka through eminent domain in 2001. With the assistance of a two-million-dollar grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the state subsequently purchased the land from the town, creating Bennett’s Pond State Park in 2002.
- "Bennett Ponds". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Bennett's Pond State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Bennett's Pond and Beyond" (PDF). 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: New York City. Menasha Ridge. 2013. pp. 330–336. ISBN 9780897327152. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "The Ives Trail and Greenway" (PDF). Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials. April 12, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "Outpost Farm". Old Ridgefield. Jack Sanders and Hersam Acorn Newspapers. Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- Brooks, Christopher (September 28, 2008). "The Preservationists' Trails". New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "The growth of open space in Ridgefield". The Ridgefield Press. Hersam Acorn. December 2, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "Wooster Mountain State Park Acquisition, Ridgefield CT" (PDF). Land and Water Conservation Fund. National Park Service. Retrieved July 9, 2015.