Places We Protect

Poquetanuck Cove Preserve


Water rushes along a creek at Poquetanuck Cove Preserve.
Poquetanuck Cove Water rushes along a creek at Poquetanuck Cove Preserve. © Jeff Zanelli/TNC

Venture through the forest to witness a beautiful vista of Poquetanuck Cove



Why You Should Visit

The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut’s Poquetanuck Cove Preserve protects 234 acres of woodland habitat and a significant portion of the Poquetanuck Cove shoreline. Visitors to this tranquil preserve will experience the healing power of nature as they witness a tidal estuary that supports some of the richest freshwater biodiversity in the region. A 1.5-mile loop trail passes through a variety of habitats and showcases a stunning view of the Cove.

The Cove is a State of Connecticut designated bird sanctuary, providing shelter for wintering waterfowl and flight paths for soaring bald eagles in the winter. Hiking, birding, and other non-destructive forms of wildlife observation are encouraged.

If you are looking for a place to paddle, check out the nearby canoe/kayak trail. Please note that boat landing/launching is prohibited on the preserve to protect this ecologically rich shoreline.

Why TNC Selected This Site   

The health of the Cove is in jeopardy. The marsh is threatened by climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels and an increase in major storm events. Land development and outdated storm water infrastructure in the surrounding area are negatively impacting water quality. By protecting the shoreline and surrounding upland habitat, this preserve acts as a buffer to conserve the Cove’s vibrant ecosystem and rich history.

This piece of land along Poquetanuck Cove was purchased by Desire Parker in 1953. In 1988, she followed through on her lifelong plan to permanently protect this area by donating it to The Nature Conservancy.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

The Connecticut chapter of The Nature Conservancy monitors this site on a regular basis. If you would like to report any concerns at this site, please email




Dawn to dusk


Osprey, waterfowl, and unique "wolf" trees, which are relics from the agricultural era when trees along the edges of fields could spread their branches.


234 acres

Explore our work in this region

What to See: Plants

Walking along the trail, visitors first see the secondary growth of oak-beech forests that continue to slowly recover from widespread deforestation for agricultural use by European colonists. In the area are a number of large "wolf" trees, which are relics from the agricultural era when trees along the edges of fields could spread their branches. As the trail continues, it enters a cool, moist hemlock ravine containing a stream flowing across moss-covered rocks. The trail emerges from the shadows to a stunning view of the Cove and Duck Island. It then crosses drought-influenced pitch pine areas before returning to mixed hardwood forests of oaks and beech.

What to See: Animals

Look for osprey and waterfowl in the brackish marsh. The Cove is also home to multiple species of plants and animals in the state of Connecticut. Fish species including alewife, white perch, blueback herring and striped bass inhabit or migrate through the cove

What to Do: Respect the Cove

The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut encourages you to enjoy your visit to Poquetanuck Cove Preserve. To take advantage of the experience, the following activities are allowed: passive “leave no trace” recreation, including hiking, birding, non-destructive wildlife viewing, and cross-country skiing.

To maintain the ecological integrity of the preserve, the following activities are not allowed: collection of plant or animal specimens, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, bicycling, boat landing/launching and use of motorized vehicles. Pets are not allowed at this preserve.

To ensure those who visit after you are able to enjoy the same experience you have, please remember to stay on designated trails, pack out everything you brought in, and contact our office at: 203-568-6270 or if you notice any problems