The Short Beach Preserve is a 40-acre parcel with rugged rock outcroppings, tall oaks, beeches, extensive groves of mountain laurel, wetlands, and a magnificent bluff offering spectacular views of Talmadge Pond and Long Island Sound. The isolated trails of this little gem provide a haven of nature in a densely populated part of Branford. Throughout much of the 19th century, the property was divided into a series of small, private woodlots, thus perhaps discouraging its development. Until the 1940s, ice was harvested from Talmadge Pond (also known as Altmannsberger Pond) and shipped to New York City and beyond for refrigeration. For more than a century Talmadge Pond has also been a favorite ice-skating spot for Short Beach residents. It can now can be accessed by the public from its northern side via the blue trail.
In 1999, 35 acres were donated to the Branford Land Trust by the Foote Family Charitable Trust and two other donors. A 4.3-acre inholding that bisected the property and contained the Talmadge Pond bluff was later acquired for $150,000 through the contributions of many supporters and a generous $75,000 matching grant by the Foote Family Charitable Trust.
“We had finished the fund drive for the Medlyn Woods purchase just a year previous when the Foote Family Charitable Trust and the Prann/Ertelt families offered a donation of 35 wooded acres in Short Beach. The only issue was the privately-owned 4.29-acre tract smack dab in the middle! We knew we had another fundraiser to do! The whole community got involved. We led more than a dozen public walks, did a town-wide mailing with a brochure and map, spoke to local groups and several condominium groups. The Foote Trust offered a match to $75,000 in donations. Tisko students did their part by paying $1 to wear a hat on Hat Day! With more than 600 donations from individuals, businesses, community groups and students, it was truly a community effort and that community spirit was clear evidence at the public celebration among the mountain laurels at the end of the fund drive.” — Joan Merrick, Fundraising Chairperson
Beautiful any time of year!
Trail Head, Short Beach Preserve
Trail Length: From Midwood Rd. parking lot to Talmadge Pond loop, 1.2 miles round trip.
Getting There: From Shore Dr. (Route 142, aka Short Beach Road), turn onto Midwood Rd. Park at the end of Midwood.