DEEP: Chatfield Hollow Boardwalk Rededicated

May 19, 2006

Connecticut DEP Rededicates Chatfield Hollow State Park Boardwalk in Memory of Longtime DEP Employee Paul F. Wildermann

The State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today rededicated the boardwalk in Chatfield Hollow State Park in memory of Paul F. Wildermann, a longtime DEP employee who designed and built the original boardwalk.

"Dedicated employees like Paul Wildermann are what state service is all about," said DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy. "Many years ago, he recognized a need for being able to enjoy nature while also protecting its beauty. He fulfilled that need by constructing the boardwalk at Chatfield Hollow. It is an honor to now rededicate it in his honor."

Covering approximately 825 feet, the "Paul F. Wildermann Boardwalk" allows a visitor to Chatfield Hollow State Park to walk through some of the most beautiful inland wetland habitat in the state without disturbing its natural beauty. Originally built in 1988, the new boardwalk was rebuilt in sections over approximately 5 Ĺ years at a cost of approximately $ 30,000.

"The Boardwalk was not intended as a means to get from point A to point B, the objective was the walk itself," said Tom Morrissey, Chief of the DEPís Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. "Birders say this is one of the premier spots to observe a large variety of birds in the area and in early spring you can see deer bedding down near the walk."

Chatfield Hollow State Park is named for Chatfield Hollow Brook that flows toward Long Island Sound between two high ridges covered with oak, beech, and hickory trees. The Park was originally a Civilian Conservation Corps recreation area within Cockaponset State Forest.

Descendants of three Chatfield brothers, who arrived from England about 1639, were believed to have operated a gristmill along the brook. Occasional chunks of oddly shaped metal fragments found near the watercourse are evidence that an iron smelting furnace worked native ores into metal for implements. Other reminders of early history include several old building foundations, a restored waterwheel on the upper pond, and the covered bridge reproduction spanning Chatfield Hollow Brook