Roosevelt Forest
Background & History
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Excerpted from "An Introductory Guide to Stratford's Natural Environs" published in 1990 by the Town of Stratford's Conservation Commission.

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The Town of Stratford is very fortunate indeed to be one of the few towns or cities in the nation to have its very own forest. Located at the end of Peters Lane, off of James Farm Road, this beautiful 250 acre forest is part of our town's excellent park system.

Roosevelt Forest was set up during the depression in the 1930's from land purchased by then Stratford Town Manager, Donald D. Sammis. It was developed in large part through PRESIDENT Franklin D. Roosevelt's W.P.A. program, designed to provide jobs for legitimate public projects. The park was established to provide recreational opportunities for townspeople, and to protect the watershed, wildlife and beauty of this fine example of mixed deciduous forest.
 
Being a town park and given the fact that its beauty and naturalness must be preserved, there are several rules and procedures governing its use which should be mentioned here. These include the following:

 
* use is restricted to Stratford residents and their guests (valid town beach/park stickers must be on all vehicles entering the park)
* no hunting, trapping or fishing is allowed
* pets must be on a leash at all times
* no minibikes, snowmobiles or other alternate terrain vehicles are allowed
* no smoking on trails
* no collecting of plants, etc. (bring a camera instead)
* please don't litter
 
Included in the forest system is a lovely pond, various wetlands, and for the user's benefit, there are playgrounds, picnic tables, picnic shelters, cooking pits, restrooms, walking paths and camp sites. Hiking, horseback riding, cross-countly skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating are all enjoyed here.

The Stratford Junior Youth Conservation Club holds its activities in the WWII vintage Quonset Hut located here, as well as in another classroom building. The club is sponsored by the Town's Conservation Commission. Local Scout troops also utilize Roosevelt Forest for camping on a regular basis. The Police Department has an off-limits private shooting range here also.

Without a doubt, the outstanding feature of the forest is its natural flora and fauna. Roosevelt Forest is a wildlife sanctuary and it has most species one would expect to find in a typical Connecticut mixed deciduous forest, including both coniferous, or needle-type trees (pines, spruces, ere.) and the deciduous broadleaf hardwoods (maples, oaks, etc.) Lovely trails, some marked, such as the RED TRIANGLE NATURE TRAIL (sponsored by the Stratford Conservation Commission), lead one to the wonders of nature.
 
Along with about forty deer currently using the area, the forest contains smaller mammals as well as reptiles and amphibians. Nearly all of Connecticut's birdlife can be observed here also. Trees, ferns and wildflowers abound. These species all interact with one another to form intricate food webs and thus, the web of life. Only a fair sampling of ihe forest's major organisms would include:

Birds:
Cedar waxwing
Kingfisher
 
Tree swallow
Green heron
 
Grouse
Pheasant
 
Warblers
Meadowlark
 
Owls
Phoebe
 
Hawks (various)
Brown thrasher
 
Tanager
Vireos
 
 
 
Amphibians:
Dusky salamander
Fowlers toad
 
American toad
Two-lined salamander
 
 
 
Reptiles:
Racer
Ribbon snake
 
Hognose snake
Eastern milk snake
 
 
 
Mammals:
Red fox
Red squirrel
 
Shrew
Northern flying squirrel
 
White tail deer
Mole
 
 
 
Wild flowers:
Ladyslipper
Wood anemone
 
Cinquefoil
Wood betony
 
Butter & eggs
Jack in the pulpit
 
Trout lily
Rue anemone
 
Bloodroot
Solomon's seal
 
Trillium
Rattlesnake plantain
 
Wild strawberry
Winter-green
 
Pipsissewas
Partridge berry
 
 
 
Ferns:
Christmas fern
Marsh fern
 
Cinnamon fern
New York fern
 
 
 
Trees:
Witch hazel
Sassafras
 
Maples (various)
Tulip
 
Hemlock
Mountain-laurel
 
Spruce
Balsam fir
 
Beeches
Hickories

The above list is only a sampling; dozens of other species may easily be spotted. While extremely rare, even COPPERHEADS and MINK have historically been recorded here, and don't overlook the much more common poison-ivy!

A walk through the woods, using common sense and preparation or if one prefers, a picnic with the family, can be gloriously enjoyed in ROOSEVELT FOREST, nature's wonderland.
Roosevelt Forest, Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut USA