The Darien Land Trust was formed in 1956 with a $5,000 anonymous donation. Four years later, in 1960, it was incorporated as Darien Parklands Association, Inc. and in 1969, changed its name to Land Trust of Darien, Inc. –“Darien Land Trust” – which it remains today.
In 1972, a gift of 14.1 acres of woodland was made by Dunlap & Associates, hence our very first property “01” Dunlap Woods. And in 1973, the Darien Land Trust received 501(3)(c) IRS incorporated non-profit status which allows contributions to be tax deductible for income and estate taxes.
In the 1990’s, the Land Trust recognized the need to raise its outreach and public persona and for ease of communications is called the Darien Land Trust (DLT).
Also during this time, the DLT focused on major projects involving land acquisition, adopted the Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices, and formalized stewardship policies and procedures for DLT properties as well as annual budgets, and implemented insurance coverages.
In addition, DLT Board established policies including Good Neighbor and Land and Deer Management, and granted public access to those areas with parking and trails, such as Dunlap Woods.
Since receiving that first 14.1-acre gift in 1972, the Darien Land Trust has expanded to nearly 220 acres of land – preserving meadows, woodland, wetlands, marshland and other undeveloped parcels in town. This preservation effort is supported by a total membership of between 450-550 residents of the Town of Darien.