Open Space Map (3mb)

City of Shelton Open Space Marker

open space marker

This marker is used to identify Public Open Space owned by the City of Shelton.  It does not mark the exact location of the property line and may be as much as 100 feet away from the boundary, depending on site conditions.  The Conservation and Pedestrian Easements markers have a similar look but different text.

Land Trust Marker

The Land Trust is a private, non-profit group that owns 364 acres of open space in Shelton, marked with these signs.  People frequently confuse the Land Trust with the City of Shelton.

Wetlands Marker

These rectangular wetlands marker may be found in some newer subdivisions, usually on 4x4 posts. They mark the location of areas regulated by the Shelton Inland Wetlands Commission. These are generally on private property and are not related to open space. 

Open Space Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

There are more than 1900 acres of Public Open Space in Shelton. Here are some of the more common questions that have been posed to the Conservation Commission:

How can I find out where the open space is located in my neighborhood? Start by checking the online open space map at right (3mb pdf file). Note that you can zoom in to a specific neighborhood, and take a "snapshot" which can be pasted into another document.  If you are interested in a specific open space parcel, be sure to identify its open space number (e.g. "OS 9"), as shown on the map. For more information about a specific parcel, check to see if we have any further information available on the OS Property Listings page (you will need to know the OS number from the map).  Our goal is to add information about most of the open space parcels over time. If there is nothing online, you may request information from the Conservation Agent at 924-1555 x1315. 

What is allowed in the open space? Under Ordinance #833, the open space is open to the general public from dawn to dusk for passive recreation such as walking, bird watching, walking dogs on leash, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing with license, geocaching and letterboxing. Prohibitions include fires, gas-powered vehicles such as ATVs and dirtbikes, camping, paintball and Airsoft games, weapons that shoot projectiles (archery, guns), hunting, littering, cutting of vegetation, and dumping of garbage or lawn waste.

What City department oversees the open space? Natural open space areas are administered by the Conservation Commission, mostly with volunteers. Please consider becoming a Shelton Landkeeper. Ballfields, playgrounds, and manicured areas such as the Huntington Green are administered by the Parks & Recreation Department.

Why can’t I dump my lawn debris in the open space? The City of Shelton receives many complaints from residents who see and smell unattractive piles of lawn clippings, leaves, or brush dumped in public parks, sometimes along trails or roadsides where people walk. Grass clipping piles also pose a threat to water quality because they leach very high levels of nitrogen, the pollutant responsible for “dead zones” in Long Island Sound. Over time, wetlands may be filled, and embankments extended for private lawns.

The open space near my house is grassy. Can I mow it? Generally speaking, no. If you are in a newer subdivision, grass may have been planted to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion until other plants, shrubs and trees grow in naturally. Why? Forested lands provide benefits to the community including the reduction of flooding, filtering of stormwater pollutants, cleaning and cooling the air, filtering noise, buffering neighborhoods, and providing wildlife habitat.

How do I find out where my property line is located? Tax Assessor’s maps are drawn to scale and in some cases can be used for a rough approximation. You may also find a plot plan or “as-built” map on file in the Building or Engineering Departments. Do not rely on information from realtors or sellers. If in doubt, hire a surveyor or contact the Conservation Agent for assistance if your property abuts open space. Note that open space markers on trees, if they exist, are often set 10 to 30 feet inside the property line and are an approximation only.  In some cases these signs may be 100 inside the property line, due to the landscape. Or there may be no signs.

What should I do if there are illegal activities occurring on the open space in my area? Contact the Police if you witness criminal activities or destruction of park property. You should also follow up by contacting the Conservation Agent, who will track and follow up on issues (both major and minor) involving open space. If you suspect hunting in the open space, the CT DEP maintains a 24-hr Poaching Hotline at 800-842-4357.

Will the City clean up the litter in the open space? We rely on volunteers to keep their neighborhoods and parks clean. Exceptions include large-scale dumping or items too large for volunteers to move. In some cases the city will install gates or boulders to discourage dumping. Leave collected litter by the side of the road and call Highways & Bridges at 924-9277 to have it picked up.

What is the difference between open space and a conservation easement? Land commonly referred to as "open space" is land owned outright by the City of Shelton. A conservation easement, on the other hand, is a deed restriction placed upon private property. Conservation easements are subject to the rules outlined in the Conservation Easement Ordinance, including no cutting of vegetation, no dumping of lawn wastes, and no parking of vehicles. In general, conservation easements are not open to the public.

The neighboring land has a sign that says “Shelton Land Conservation Trust.” Is that the City? No. The Shelton Land Trust is a private, non-profit organization.

There is a hazardous dead tree on the conservation land that is leaning over my lawn. Can I cut it? Generally speaking, yes, but you should first obtain permission from the Conservation Agent or Tree Warden and complete the Tree Removal form. If the conservation land is owned by the Shelton Land Trust, you need to contact that organization rather than the City.

I would like to make some improvements in the open space. Can I do that? Let the Conservation Commission know what you want to do and they will make a decision on a case by case basis. 

What are the penalties for open space violations? Ordinance #833 allows a fine of up to $250 per violation. In addition, the Connecticut Encroachment Law (PA 06-89) allows the City or Land Trust to file suit and recover damages and all attorney’s fees. The state law also provides for courts to award up to $5,000 plus attorney’s fee in some cases where damages cannot be proven, including ATV or dirt bike riding.

For more information or to report problems with an open space, contact the Conservation Agent at 924-1555 x1315 or Please consider adopting the open space in your neighborhood by becoming a Shelton Landkeeper.