Viva Skiff Mountain! (fka Paradise Lost) LbNA # 3919
|Placed Date||Sep 3 2002|
|Last Found||Mar 16 2010|
(f.k.a.: Paradise Lost Letterbox)
Planted by Lil Banditos
Planted September 3, 2002
Original clues at www.geocities.com/lilbanditos/ParadiseLost.html
Adopted by Rubaduc in November 2007
In light of recent events, the Lil' Banditos have changed the name of the Skiff Mountain letterbox. Fortunately, plans for the proposed housing development have been defeated and the Skiff Mountain property is now safely protected as a forest preserve. Viva Skiff Mountain!
Below is the original text and background information of the Skiff Mountain letterbox.
We have placed this letterbox to draw attention to the plight of Skiff Mountain. For years, Skiff Mountain has been a nature preserve, consisting of over 800 acres. The property has abundant wetlands and is home to 44 species of wildlife including threatened species. It also has rare species of trees which have been found nowhere else in Litchfield County.
The owners of the property, The Kent School, are in the process of negotiations with a developer, Skiff Mountain Association to turn this beautiful preserve into a housing development. Obviously, there has been much opposition to these plans. Those who have been working to save the preserve include many local conservancy groups as well as the Friends of Skiff Mountain, which consists of residents and concerned others. The Friends of Skiff Mountain offered over 1 million dollars to the Kent School for the property, representing its appraised value, but was rejected!
In addition, both planning and zoning commissions of Kent and Sharon (in which part of the property lies) are in favor of approving this development. This approval has been set forth, despite the fact that inland and wetland commissions have stated that the project would impair wetlands on Skiff Mountain. To add insult to injury, the attorney for Skiff Mountain Association, in his attempt to appease any opponents has stated that 45 acres of the 800+ property will be created as a land trust. I guess this was supposed to make us all feel better...
The Lil' Banditos are of the opinion that developers are the lowest kind of opportunistic scum, aggressively seeking out untouched properties in order to make huge profits and having little regard or respect for this same property in its natural state. However, that being said, we know that this is the nature of that beast. Our real disgust is aimed towards the Kent School. We believe that an institution of this type is certainly not needy and should be more concerned with their public image and the message, as well as the legacy they're handing to their students. We are of the opinion that it would be appropriate for such an organization (in its dedication to higher learning) to donate the property to a land trust, not turn their noses up at a 1+ million dollar offer. To this we say, "bad show!" We also point our fingers at the local town governments which seem to be totally without backbone. They seem to prefer to harass a small business owner over what type of sign they have, than to be willing to work to protect their natural areas.
Development is running unchecked in this small state. The Lil' Banditos are saddened by the number of mountain vistas obstructed by large houses and trails that run closely by these same homes' backyards. It is our hope that many of you out there feel as we do and will help to spread the word regarding how you feel about what is happening to our tiny Connecticut.
Distance: Approximately two miles, round trip.
Directions: From the center of Kent, take route 341 north, crossing the Housatonic River. Immediately after the bridge, take a right onto Skiff Mountain Rd. Follow this road for about a mile until you see a dirt road branching off to the right. Follow this dirt road, paralleling the river, for 1.7 miles. You will see the AT crossing the road, and there will be a small parking area on the left.
Clues: Begin on the white blazed AT, heading towards Georgia. Shortly, you will see a small, unmarked path on your left. You may wish to take a short detour to look at the lower slabs of St. John's Ledges. Continuing on the AT will take you directly past the upper slabs of the ledges, both of which are popular climbing areas. Follow the trail to the top of Caleb's Peak. This spot was the closest we could get to Skiff Mountain while still being on a mountain, as there are no trails going over Skiff Mountain, itself. Although you are not able to see Skiff Mountain from the top of Caleb's Peak, it lies directly to the north and may be glimpsed in the winter.
From the Caleb's Peak sign, continue to follow the white blazes to a broken tree, at which point the trail turns to the left (this tree may have disintegrated but the turn is still there with a double blaze tree to indicate a left turn). Turn in a direction exactly opposite of where the trail goes and proceed in a straight line for approximately 30-35 steps. You should end with a waist-high, rocky outcrop to your left, with a small, fallen tree just to its right. Let the fallen tree direct you through a pair of oaks, and up a small incline. Continue o'er rocky slabs with views appearing straight ahead and move forward to a quartet of oaklings. Go to the right, down a slightly worn path to another set of rock slabs. Proceed through another pair of trees (sycamore?) and continue gradually downhill o'er a carpet of moss. Walk across lichen covered slabs and find an area of cracked blocks. Look to your left and spy the cornerstone, amid a small oak tree and birchlings, light and dark. The box is hidden beneath an overhanging, central stone.
Viva Skiff Mountain!