Founded in 1895, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) was the first private, nonprofit, conservation organization to be established in Connecticut. CFPA’s original statement of purpose is as vital and necessary today as it was then:
Statement of Purpose (adopted on Arbor Day, 1896)
- To develop public appreciation of the value of forests, and of the urgent need for preserving and using them rightly.
- To disseminate information relating to the science of forestry, the proper use of forests and the care of trees.
- To secure the passage and enforcement of laws directed toward the preservation, maintenance and increase of forests in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.
- To forward the establishment of state and national parks and reservations, and the introduction of forest management on those and other forest lands.
- To introduce and encourage the study of forestry and kindred topics in the schools.
CFPA and its volunteers launched the Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail System in 1929 as a new way to explore and appreciate Connecticut’s forests. The trails are hosted on 825 miles of private, town, and state lands stretching across 96 towns, and now include the nation’s newest National Scenic Trail, the New England Trail (2009). The “Blue Trails” are widely viewed as CFPA’s most tangible, visible “asset” on the Connecticut landscape.
- Since the 1980s, CFPA has been a statewide land trust that owns land (436 acres), and also holds conservation restrictions on 1,824 acres of land and 6.8 miles of trails. CFPA has stewardship responsibilities associated with these properties that span 21 towns.
- Since the 1980s, CFPA has either been the leader or co-leader of the Project Learning Tree Connecticut (PLT CT) environmental education program in partnership with the American Forest Foundation.
- Since 1993, CFPA has been coordinating National Trails Day® events across Connecticut. In 2014, there were 269 events in 143 towns on Connecticut Trails Weekend (the most in the nation … again).
- Since 2008, CFPA has contracted with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) to ensure the Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center in Hampton helps deliver a variety of forest-based environmental educational programs for all ages.
- Since 2010, CFPA has served as the fiscal sponsor for the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) and maintains a strong connection with all land trusts.