About Southport Park
This new 10 acre park in the heart of historic downtown Southport is the result of a collaboration between Aspetuck Land Trust, the Sasquanaug Association, Southport Conservancy, and the Southport Area Association to restore the park's natural beauty while enhancing its community appeal and improving plant and wildlife habitats. Aspetuck Land Trust which will help maintain the park, provided advice on how to incorporate native plants on the property, facilitated a wildlife study by local Connecticut Audubon Society, and advised on signage and park policies. Our effort in Southport is similar to our collaboration with the town of Westport in 2010 to create the 39 acre Newman Poses preserve in memory of the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman.
Southport Park is open to the public and was designed for joggers, hikers, dog walkers and children of all ages. It includes a natural playscape for children similar to the popular Natural Playground built by Aspetuck Land Trust at the Leonard Schine preserve in Westport. We are proud of our involvement in the creation of this new park which would not have been possible without the generous financial and volunteer support of the local Southport groups above and friends and neighbors.
The improved park now contains more than 1/2 mile of newly constructed walking trails that are well marked and include map stands and interest stations. A new entrance was constructed to enhance the park’s visibility. A large amount of specimen plantings were planted by Jay Petrow of Petrow Gardens Landscape Design which provide great color and animal habitats throughout the seasons. The 2,000 plants and 100 trees added to the park will produce berries and seeds for birds to eat, and the shrubs will provide a hiding area for small mammals.
Play areas, benches, and a picnic area were added to the property. Natural structures (like the fort, benches and parts of the play areas) were created from the wood of trees felled by recent storms. The "railroad overlook" where people can see Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak trains go by includes a wooden stand with train schedules and information about the history of trains. The park’s history begins with a railroad project -- the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad had bought the property in the 1890s, and then in 1912 clear-cut the area to use the wood to pay for an expansion project. Southporter Milton Lacey purchased the cleared land from the railroad and in 1915, he and other residents formed the Southport Park Association and began restoration work. In 1950, the deed for the park was transferred to the Sasquanaug Association, with the condition that the property be maintained for public use and protection of plants and wildlife. Enjoy this beautiful new park!
For more history on the park, visit http://www.southportpark.org/
For a family hike exploration of Southport Park, click here.
Click here for the trail map.
Trail Steward: Nancy Moon
Directions & Parking:
Just past Southport Racquet Club on the left you will see stone pillars marking the park's entrance. A small lot is available in front of the entrance and parking is also available roadside.