Wilton approves a long-term preservation plan for Kineowatha Park

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Skaters enjoy the rink at Kineowatha Park last week.

WILTON – A long-term plan to preserve the trees, trails and other public recreation areas in Kineowatha Park was approved last week at the Wilton Selectboard meeting.

In 2018, the Conservation Commission, an organization that works with town committees and public groups to protect natural areas, approached the Wilton Parks and Recreation Department with hopes of designing a long-term preservation plan for Kineowatha Park. The park is a well-trafficked destination for both tourists and area locals, and both organizations deemed the plan a priority to ensure that the park remain a natural landscape and recreational resource for future residents and visitors. Last week at the Wilton Selectboard meeting, members approved the finalized long-term plan.

“Coming to the park and the lake is almost like coming to another part of the world,” said Wilton Parks and Recreation Department Director Frank Donald. “The issue that we wanted to make sure and address with the plan was to keep it from getting too developed.”

The Conservation Commission researched plans that other towns had implemented to determine what would be the best guidelines for preserving lakes and woodlands. They also accepted assistance and information from the Friends of Wilson Lake. The finalized and approved plan involves both conservation efforts and development guidelines to ensure the upkeep and the overall protection of the area, including the species that inhabit the Wilson Lake.

“The documents they approved will be our working guidelines to use on an ongoing basis. They’re less like laws to be implemented, just considerations,” said Donald.

Included in the plan are stipulations for preserving the trees, the lake itself and the walking trails and public recreational areas that many frequent in Kineowatha Park. There are also plans for addressing invasive species and adapting preservation efforts as the effects of climate change continue to progress.

This includes new drainage and pruning systems, as well as strategies to abate erosion patterns and maximize CO2 dissipation. To meet the goal of limiting development, the park has been sectioned into three zones, decreasing in the amount of development allowed the closer the zone is to the lake itself. As far as the impact that this will have on the public, the guidelines themselves won’t require anything else from visiting community members but will have a lasting effect on the park’s well-being.

“We tried to make it so that there was almost zero development if possible in the first zone, closest to the lake,” said Donald.

“This is not a plan to change the park. Rather, it is a plan to protect and care for Kineowatha Park as well as possible so future residents can also enjoy its outstanding recreational and natural resources,” said Ken Sawyer, current member of the Conservation Commission and former member of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Now that it has been approved by Wilton’s selectboard, the town of Wilton’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Conservation Commission will continue to partner to adhere to the preservation guidelines they’ve drawn up.

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