Petition seeks to save Mill River in Easton On town-owned South Park site

The Mill River in Easton runs through the town-owned South Park property. — Archive photo

A New England fishing club is seeking signatures on a petition to help save the Mill River in Easton. Scott Garland of fishingnortheast.net started the petition with a single signature, and now has 94 supporters and is seeking more.

The Mill River in Easton flows through the 29-acre town-owned South Park property. The Board of Selectmen is seeking a return on its $6.1 million investment in the site after the would-be buyer, the New England Prayer Center lost its final option to purchase the property. The selectmen have set preservation of the Mill River and open space around it as a high priority as they seek possible development options for the site.

The Fishing Northeast club encompasses Connecticut, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The petition cites the upper Mill River in Easton “as one of the most significant wild trout streams in all of New England. It is exceptionally unique in its characteristic. There is nowhere else in all of New England where you can find a tailwater release Class 1 WTMA (Wild Trout Management Area, containing abundant wild trout and not stocked) that runs for a few short miles and empties into a 60 ft. deep thermal refuge.”

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has realized the stream’s significance and is in the process of changing the regulations from Route 59 down to Lake Mohegan to catch and release only, making the entire upper stretch of the stream from the Easton Reservoir all the way to Lake Mohegan one continuous wild trout management area, according to the petition.

The South Park property is just below the reservoir and has been the subject of much debate over the years. CLICK HERE to read about the site. Easton bought the parcel in 2008 to save it from high-density housing and is now looking to recoup the money and allow a smaller scale development.

“The problem is that there is no city sewer in that area and all of the waste, run-off etc. from any development would need to go into the ground, which will eventually pollute the river and kill off a population of brook trout that have thrived in that river since the last glacier,” the petition states.

Garland asks fishermen and members of the public to show their support in helping keep the Mill River and the natural habitat that thrive in its waters by signing this petition and not allowing any type of development by the State of Connecticut or the Town of Easton.

People can CLICK HERE to sign the online petition and leave a comment.

Garland advises interested parties to send an email Citizens for Easton,cfe@citizensforeaston.org, to receive updates. Citizens for Easton has applied for a program to save South Park as open space through the Connecticut Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust program. CLICK HERE to read about the application.

The public is encouraged to attend Easton Board of Selectmen meetings (bi-monthly; agendas posted on Town of Easton website. CLICK HERE for Board of Selectmen agendas).

The petition to save the Mill River lists the names of Easton;s selectmen and urges people to contact them.

They are First Selectman Adam Dunsby, adunsby@eastonct.gov; Selectman Carrie Colangelo, carriecolangelo@optonline.net; and Selectman Robert Lessler, rlessler@eastonct.gov and BCC cfe@citizensforeaston.org.

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