Curtis Woodlands is a 138 acre site located in the northwest corner of Durham with access from Salted Lane/Dunn Hill Road. It abuts the Lyman Golf Course in Middlefield. The property includes a field in its southeast corner and the remainder of the property is wooded.
In the fall of 2004 the Curtis Woodlands was formally dedicated to the memory of Gregory G. Curtis. Greg was born in 1919 in New York City, NY to Dr. Charles and Mary Curtis. He received his B.S. in Agronomy from Iowa State University, M.A., in Government from Trinity College, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He worked for the Soil Conservation Service in New Haven County, and for 21 years served as County Agricultural Agent for Middlesex County with the UConn Cooperative Extension Service. Greg served in many capacities while a resident of Durham. He was President of the "Catholic Club" of Durham which raised funds and organized families to help initiate construction of Notre Dame Church, where he served as Trustee for 40 years. During his many years as Chairman of the Durham Conservation Commission, he was instrumental in the acquisition of hundreds of acres of open space land in Durham, including the Curtis Woodlands property, and obtaining more equitable taxation of farm, forest and open space land.
Greg also served as First Selectman from 1977-79, Selectman for two terms, Chairman of the Regional School District Study Committee, Chairman of the Firehouse Building Committee, member of the Notre Dame Church Rectory Building Committee, Chairman of the Cemetery Association, PTA President and founder of the Scholarship Fund, and member of the Democratic Town Committee and American Legion. Curtis also served as Director, and later President, of the Rockfall Foundation, conceived the Rockfall environmental grants program, and served as a Director for the Lyman Farm, Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank and Middlesex Hospital. He helped to establish the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency and was instrumental in establishing the Connecticut River Gateway Commission.
The trail on this property is described in a clockwise direction from the parking lot as follows. The trail leaves the parking lot at its southwest corner, proceeds west along the edge of the field and enters the woods. The trail then proceeds west downhill for about 300 yards, turns north, and winds its way along Sawmill Brook for about 380 yards. Blazes in this area are orange. The trail crosses the braided channel of Sawmill Brook three times along this leg. The trail then turns east and ascends to higher ground overlooking the brook and the Lyman Golf Course. The trail then proceeds east through a mixed hemlock/oak wooded area for about 400 yards until it turns south. Blazes beyond this turn to the south are dark blue. The trail then follows along the eastern boundary of the property to the south until it again reaches the field. There is also a dark blue blazed spur trail (not mapped at this time) that extends west into the interior of the wooded portion of the property. You can return to the parking lot along the edge of the field or by following the old Dunn Hill Road (now abandoned) back to Salted Lane and the parking area.