The Old Newgate Coon Club

Woodlands and Wildlife


Old Newgate Coon Club (ONCC)


   Woodlands and Wildlife Committee

A beautiful Lady Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule) at the stand of over 30 on club property. The picture taken in May of 2021 was a great site.  The stand of orchids has been slowly spreading.  




 After 2 years of looking, this sundew plant was once again discovered at the lower pond of the club.  It is only 2 inches in diameter and has the distinction of being a carnivorous plant only documented at the nearby Beckley Bog.





The Old Newgate Coon Club is located in the Northwest hills of Connecticut.  There are over 630 acres with a variety of habitats including swamp, hardwood forests, hemlock stands, meadows, streams, ponds, and dense stands of pine.  Trees grow remarkably well in Connecticut.  Cherry, Ash, Beech, yellow and black birch, and a variety of Maples and Oaks are abundant.  The elevation of the property goes from approximately 600 feet to nearly 1600ft above sea level.  We maintain some roads and fields as well as some transitional areas known as early successional habitat.  This occurs when a field is in the process of reverting back to forest.  All the land in the area of the club was used for farming or coal harvest at some point in recent history.  There are many stone walls that bear evidence to this.  There are even some old foundations and wells that indicate old homesteads.


The club has a Forest Stewardship Plan which provides an overview of the club’s resources and a view toward the future stewardship of the forests encompassed by the property.  It also serves as a foundation upon which the grants can move forward.


The ONCC has partnered with the federal National Resource Conservation  Service (NRCS) for a Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program(WHIP) grant and the state Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division for a Landowner Incenitive Program(LIP) grant.  These two grants promote habitat for wildlife.  These grants allow the club to work cooperatively with biologists and habitat professionals to develop habitat that is in demand for the sustenance of selected wildlife for cover and as preferred environment.  Below is a vernal pond dug in 2004 during field development under the LIP program.  This provides a seasonal water source for amphibians and has been heavily used as evidenced by the egg masses that can be seen in the Spring.

 The Chairman of the Woodlands and Wildlife Committee has completed the Master Wildlife Conservationist course and the Coverts forestry course.  He is working with other members of the club to complete the goals of the grants and to keep the land of the ONCC a dynamic contribution to the natural environment of northwest Connecticut.

 The ONCC remains committed to careful management of our most valuable resources:  The land and the wildlife that reside on it.

Forests constantly encroach on fields so here is some history on the Field Development and management which the club has done over the years to maintain our open areas and to expand some of our existing fields.

Another project that was cooperatively done with the NRCS involved clearing and planting of a small area adjacent to our bass pond.  It was accomplished by our members and involved planting many blueberry bushes.

Here are a few pictures of our new Blueberry Patch.

 Here are some newly added  Aerial Photos  that show our property in 2008, in 2012, and in the Fall of 2012.  These photos were provided courtesy of the NRCS.

In 2013, several members of the club attended a workshop about the initiatives to increase the numbers of New England Cottontail rabbit through habitat management and other methods.  Grants are available to increase suitable habitat for this rabbit which is experiencing decreasing numbers.  Check the site periodically for updates on possible club involvement in the grant process.

The Club embarked on a New England Cottontail grant in 2014 that cleared 21 acres of land and established three brush piles per acre for New England Cottontail habitat.  Deer, bear, woodcock, and grouse also benefit from the new early successional habitat.  A wide variety of birds including many warblers enjoy the new habitat.  The clearing helps to balance the amount of land that is forested with the open spaces that many animals need to thrive.

In late 2018 and into 2019, another New England Cottontail initiative was completed which provided more early successional habitat.  The deer, moose, songbirds, and most importantly, the New England Cottontail have benefitted.

Recently, in May of 2021, a monitoring device was placed at the latest New England Cottontail clearing to monitor whippoorwill activity.  The club continues to support a great diversity of wildlife and serve as a haven for the local flora and fauna.