Wilton has kept it’s two-acre house policy longer than any other surrounding towns to keep a semi-rural flair. But how rural is Wilton, really? It’s rural enough to have 23 of its very own preserves, open to the public. Ranging from 16 acres to nearly 200 acres, these preserves add nature sanctuaries to our suburban haven where anybody can enjoy the outdoors.

Connecticut Trail Weekend is enjoyed starting today though Sunday, June 2-4, and it celebrates the outdoors and exciting trails that Connecticut has to offer. Connecticut hosts the largest National Trails Weekend in the country with over 236 guided events to choose from. Although Wilton is not offering any guided tours like other towns in the state, the town still offers a bounty for nature newbies and lovers alike to explore and enjoy.

Many of the parks have been around for decades, but the trails are still in great condition. Volunteer groups, including the Fairfield County New England Mountain Biking Association, pitch in a great deal. “They’re out there every weekend maintaining trails,” says Mike Conklin, director of Wilton’s Environmental Affairs Department.

Even if the parks themselves don’t appear to be in pristine condition, there’s a reason for that. “If there’s a group of standing dead trees, it’s probably because they’re home to an endangered bat species,” Conklin explains. The same goes for an overgrown meadow:  “Most of our meadows are mowed once or twice a year, and we try to time the mowing for the birds and butterflies to be able to use the plants that are growing there,” he says.

Here in Wilton, we’re lucky enough to have parks ranging from Millstone Farm, which is a privately owned property with a town-owned public easement, to Weir Farm, which is the only federally-owned, National Historic Site in the state of Connecticut. Because there are so many around town, there’s probably one very close to just about any home.

“If everybody looks around, they could identify different properties they might be interested in exploring. I would certainly encourage everybody to get out there and explore our parks. Just get out there and go for a little walk. It doesn’t have to be the hike of a lifetime,” says Conklin.

Of course, he adds, take precautions about the ticks. “Wear long pants and light-colored clothing so if you get a tick on you, you can see it before it bites you. Use a bug spray called permethrin and Deep Woods Off,” he cautions.

Click any of the links below for more information on each individual preserve, including a map, thanks to the Wilton Conservation Commission. The streets with access are listed below as well.

Click to enlarge this map: