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Our Story

 

Who are we

The Ragged Mountain Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation group dedicated to preserving natural resources and maintaining public access to Connecticut’s high and wild places.

The RMF was originally formed by a group of concerned hikers and climbers who wanted to ensure proper stewardship of Ragged Mountain. Governed by the “Deed of Conservation Restriction”, which is held by the Berlin Land Trust, the RMF now owns fifty-six acres of land in Southington, Connecticut, including the nationally known “Ragged Mountain” climbing area as well as a section of the Metacomet Trail.

In addition to its mission to preserve Ragged Mountain, the RMF, as the local Access Fund Affiliate, also works with the Access Fund t to resolve access issues and promote the interests of the climbing community for all of Connecticut.

History

It all started about 200 million years age when the separation of the former “super-continent” Pangea resulted in an upwelling of lava that solidified into sheets of basalt strata that were hundreds of feet thick. Faulting activity associated with the rifting action tilted this basalt strata to form what we commonly refer to as the Metacomet Ridge. The exposure of this basalt ridge (near the towns of Southington and Berlin, Connecticut) eventually came to be known as “Ragged Mountain”.

MILLONS of years later, the section of land currently owned by the Ragged Mountain Foundation came under the ownership of Stanley Hart.

It was Stanley Hart's wish that the land on and around Ragged Mountain be preserved in its natural state so that it could be continually enjoyed by everyone after his passing. In the 1980’s he developed an initial plan that would ultimately transfer the property to the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club). This plan called for a park with nature trails, a campground, and other outdoor recreational activities.

In 1989, before he passed away, Mr. Hart donated the property to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) so that any threatened or endangered species could be identified and their protection ensured before the AMC took ownership. When the AMC then declined to take over the property from TNC, a group of climbers and hikers formed the RMF and received the endorsement of the AMC to assume a stewardship role over Ragged Mountain beginning in 1991. The goal, however, was to eventually purchase the property in order to ensure continued access to one of Connecticut’s premier climbing areas.

In July 1999, after years of successful land management, ownership of the property was granted to the RMF, while the conservation easement established by TNC was transferred to the Berlin Land Trust. The conservation easement is an important statement that governs the RMF land management practices and also outlines what the RMF can and cannot do on the property. An abbreviated list of important park rules can be found here and a more thorough description of conservation plans can be found in the “Deed of Conservation Restriction”.

Since 1999, the RMF has worked hard to preserve Ragged Mountain while also becoming an important conservation and climbing advocate.