The Gellert and Valentine Preserves form part of a large forest block in Pomfret that is important for forest nesting birds. The two preserves protect 168 acres of woodland and farmland and abut both the state’s Airline trail and the 167-acre New England Forestry Foundation’s Kimball preserve.
Theodore Gellert donated his 125-acre property to the land trust in December 2007, and the land trust acquired the 43-acre Valentine property from siblings Robert Valentine and Mary Feathers in 2015. You can follow a rocky one-mile trail from the parking area on Ayers Road through the Gellert Preserve down to the Airline Trail. The trail continues along the Airline Trail for 300 yards before cutting back up the hill and back to the parking area. (Ayers Road is just south of We-Li-Kit Ice Cream on Route 97.)
The properties were logged in 2019 to remove dead and diseased trees, and the resulting open canopy and brushy understory provide attractive habitat for migrating and nesting birds, such as the Indigo Bunting, Prairie Warbler, and Eastern Towhee.