Suburban Sprawl, Cultural Landscapes
And yet somehow beautiful places survive. The New London Day reports on a “cultural landscape study” of the Eightmile River watershed just east of the Connecticut River. The cultural landscape study is part of a larger projectcalled the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Study. A Day reporter named Patricia Daddona writes:
“The Eightmile River watershed has more general stores and rural businesses than convenience stores, more forest cover than 60 years ago, and a virtually intact colonial road system tying it all together.
“Those are the findings of a cultural landscape study authorized by Congress three years ago that makes the 62-square-mile, unspoiled watershed an ‘outstanding’ ecosystem and a cultural resource that may be worthy of federal ‘wild and scenic’ designation. The designation would permit long-term protection and management of natural resources here.”
The Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Study website says this:
“Cultural landscapes are special places created by human interaction with the environment. They are comprised of the cultural and natural resources associated with historic events, activities, or persons, and serve to both define the current character of a community and reflect its past.
”Quantifiable features of a cultural landscape include structures such as houses, churches, and public buildings as well as cemeteries, stone walls, views and vistas, vegetation and topography, and the distribution of transportation systems and land uses. Also considered is the spatial organization of features across the landscape, for example the location of
hamlets such as the Eightmile's Millington Green or Hamburg.”
Who knows why this little watershed near the mouth of the Connecticut has avoided the plague of suburban sprawl? There must be other places in the lower part of the Sound's watershed that have been similarly spared but it's hard to think of too many. Perhaps the west branch of the Farmington River in Connecticut qualifies. It's the only river in the area that has the formal "Wild & Scenic" designation that the Eightmile River advocates are seeking.
I haven't spent much time in the Eightmile River watershed. But my guess is that, as the Michelin people say, it merits a detour.