Date: 10/11/18 6:41 am
From: Craig Repasz via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Northeast Region NWR proposed Boardwalk at Stewart B McKinney Great Meadow Stratford
We have received some exciting news, the Northeast Region of the National Wildlife Refuge System is considering installing a boardwalk at the Great Meadows Unit of the Stewart B McKinney Refuge in Stratford. This boardwalk will start at the current barricade just beyond Warehouse Pond and extend out into the marsh giving views of Long Beach and the salt marsh. This area protects a rare plant species and is barricaded to keep foot traffic and ATVs out of the area. The boardwalk will allow for access for birders, people with wheelchairs while prohibiting ATVs.

It is important that Refuge Management hears from Connecticut citizens n support of the proposal. Below is a letter with some talking point you can use in an email to Wendi Weber the Regional Director. Feel free to use it or parts of it at your discretion.

Thank you

Craig Repasz
Friends of Stewart B McKinney
Steering Committee Chair


Dear Director Weber
The Steering Committee for the Friends of Stewart B McKinney were very pleased to hear that you are considering putting in a boardwalk giving protect access to a sensitive salt marsh area at the Great Meadows Unit in Stratford CT.
Great Meadows is a popular destination for birders and nature lovers, not only from Stratford but for people throughout New England and New York. GM is just over the city line from Bridgeport, CT's largest city. This is a truly urban unit of the Refuge, and we could attract very diverse audiences there. Great Meadows was once considered by Roger Tory Peterson as one of the best coastal birding areas in the U.S., with over 270 species.
Visitors come to Great Meadows because it is one of the largest remaining wetlands left in CT. The refuge already offers 1.5 miles of trails with viewing platforms and informational panels, open 365 days/year. Refuge management has spent the past three years making minor improvements to the appearance and accessibility of Great Meadows for all visitors.
The proposed boardwalk, as we understand, would be designed to allow access while providing excellent habitat protection. It would allow viewing of ponds with potentially different and more diverse wildlife species and it would offer magnificent views of the marsh, Long Beach and the water. We hope there would be ample space and areas for people to set up scopes and cameras. New visitors, not just birders and other traditional users, would be drawn to such an attraction.
Previously, illegal ATV use on this trail was prevalent. Opening as a boardwalk would eliminate the ability of ATVs to access it. Furthermore, a boardwalk would take further steps to making this unit of the refuge fully accessible to people in wheelchairs and with other mobility problems.
Thank you for the consideration. We hope that this boardwalk becomes a reality.

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