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GOSA performs stewardship activities on its 536 acres of property, and at Haley Farm State Park and the Candlewood Hill Wildlife Management Area. As an all-volunteer organization, GOSA contributes thousands of hours annually. Participation comes from members, businesses, and organizations which support community service.

Management plans provide for a balance between protection of the land and its usage for public enjoyment. GOSA’s collaborative stewardship program includes trail development and maintenance, habitat enhancement, and monitoring the land for damage by trespassing and other encroachments.

In some areas that have become overgrown with invasive non-native plants, we are actively working to restore a more natural mix of vegetation. Invasive species crowd out native plant species, and are detrimental to both wildlife and soil quality.  GOSA’s primary means of removing and controlling invasive plants is mechanical, i.e., by repeated hand pulling, cutting and mowing. For some species, these techniques are not effective, and the selective use of herbicides is indicated. GOSA follows best management practices for invasive plant removal and seeks to minimize use of chemicals wherever possible.  For more information, see the University of Connecticut’s “Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group” at

General land management activities include:

– Mowing fields, grassy parking lots, and trails
– Invasive plant removal
– Trail work
– Remove obstructive growth, downed trees and branches
– Trail mapping
– Maintain trail markers and signs
– Construct and maintain bridges over wet areas
– Trash and debris removal
– Maintenance of tools and power equipment
– Monitor and mark boundaries
– Planting of native grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees
– Forestry management

Featured Habitat Projects

The Merritt Family Forest

Sheep Farm

Candlewood Ridge

Avery Farm Nature Preserve

Haley Farm State Park

Candlewood Hill Wildlife Management Area