The Ragged Mountain Foundation (RMF) was formed to take over the stewardship and eventual ownership of Ragged Mountain with the goal of preserving access to an iconic New England cliff for climbers and hikers.
However, the acquisition of Ragged Mountain was just one step in a larger mission that revolves around the preservation of -- and public access to -- Connecticut’s high and wild places. With this in mind, the RMF's mission is three-fold:
1) Promoting safe, responsible, recreational use of Connecticut’s natural spaces
2) Advocating for recreational access (including but not limited to climbing)
3) Acquiring and preserving areas of importance to the regional climbing community
For nearly 30 years the Ragged Mountain Foundation has worked to promote, preserve and protect natural resources and public access.
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 currently owns fifty-six acres of land in Southington, Connecticut, including Ragged Mountain and a section of the Metacomet Trail (New England Scenic Trail).
In addition to its mission to preserve Ragged Mountain, the RMF, as the local Access Fund Affiliate, also works with the Access Fund to resolve access issues and promote the interests of the climbing community for all of Connecticut.
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”.
MILLIONS 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 written and 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. In particular the easement in its current form bans the RMF from placing bolts, adding parking or developing new trails. Despite the restrictions imposed by TNC, the RMF has worked hard to preserve Ragged Mountain and advocate for conservation and access to Connecticut’s high and wild places.