Pachaug-Ledyard focus area final preacquisition compatibility determinations

The Service has completed its final review of the preacquisition compatibility determinations (PCDs) for the Pachaug-Ledyard Focus Area of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Connecticut. During the comment period, which took place from February 10th to February 24th, 2022, we received a total fifty public comments. The Service took these comments into consideration when editing the final PCDs. The final PCDs appear below:

For wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation on the Pachaug-Ledyard Focus Area of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Connecticut, the following stipulations are in effect:

  1. The refuge is open for environmental education and interpretation one ½-hour before legal sunrise to one ½-hour after legal sunset.
  2. Visitors must stay on designated trails and refuge roads at all times.
  3. Groups of 20 or more people require a special use permit from staff at Stewart B. McKinney NWR.
  4. Organizations cannot conduct environmental education and interpretation while charging a fee to participants, unless done through a commercial use permit or a formal agreement with the Service.
  5. Pets are allowed on designated trails only. Pets must be held by their owners at all times on a leash no longer than 7 feet. Pet owners are required to remove and properly dispose of pet waste.
  6. Vehicles and bicycles are restricted to roads and parking areas only.
  7. The refuge is a “leave-no-trace, carry-in-carry-out” out facility. All food containers, bottles, and other waste and refuse must be taken out by users.

For hunting on the Brewster Tract of the Pachaug-Ledyard Focus Area of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Connecticut, when the Service takes possession of the Brewster tract we would follow the stipulations below for hunting as described in the PCD for hunting:

  1. Hunting on the Brewster Tract will be archery only
  2. Hunting at the Brewster Tract will occur from one half hour before legal sunrise to one half hour after legal sunset. (Hunters may access the refuge one hour before sunrise for setup purposes only Hunters may be present on the refuge one hour after sunset for breakdown of equipment only)
  3. The Service will designate a hunting area to encompass only the northern section of the Brewster Tract, and it will be open to hunting Monday through Saturday
  4. The Service will create signage and informational brochures to promote a safe visit
  5. All species listed in the preacquisition compatibility determination table above may be hunted September to December only
  6. A signed refuge hunt brochure with the hunting stipulation for the Brewster tract and map of the hunting area must be sign and keep with the hunter will engaged in hunting activities.
  7. We prohibit the use of electronic calls.
  8. No baiting is allowed on refuge lands
  9. Tree stands blinds and other hunting equipment must not be left on the refuge overnight. 

In the PCDs we did discuss using the shoulder of Al Harvey Road where a vehicle could be completely removed from the road surface. This would provide temporary parking until a parking lot can be installed. There are two parking lots planned for the Brewster Tract. One lot is to be built on the Avalonia-managed lands of the Brewster Tract and another on the Service-managed portion of Tract.