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Shelton Land Trust

The Shelton Land Conservation Trust is a private organization often confused with the Conservation Commission.  The Land Trust owns 364 acres of private open space that is open to the public, including several trails and a youth camp.



Monthly meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month, at 7:00 pm, in Room 303 at City Hall, immediately preceded by the Trails Committee at 5:00 pm.

We have a public portion at the beginning of our meetings for all items not on the agenda.  If you wish to speak about something on the agenda, you are welcome to do so when that item is discussed.  

Agendas and minutes are posted at the main City website.  If you would like to see agendas or minutes earlier than the official posting, check our Google Group, because they are always listed there first. You can also check the Group for discussions about cancelled or rescheduled meetings. You may also request to receive agendas and minutes by email (contact the Natural Resource Manager).

About the Conservation Commission


Left to Right: Sheri Dutkanicz, Bill Dyer, Jim Tate, Joe Welsh, Tom Harbinson, and Teresa Gallagher.  Not shown: Ed McCreery and Pat Gajdosik.

The Conservation Commission is composed of seven volunteers appointed by the Mayor whose mission is to preserve and maintain the natural resources found throughout Shelton, including forest and farmland, lakes and streams, scenic vistas and historic features. The Commission works towards a balance between economic growth of the community and preservation of Open Space. The City employs one part-time Conservation Agent to assist the Commission.

The Conservation Commission is an advisory board only. The Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Aldermen regarding Open Space purchases and use of those lands. The Commission also reviews proposed developments and makes recommendations to the Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetlands departments.

The Commission maintains an inventory of over 175 separate Open Space properties, and is responsible for ensuring these public lands are properly signed and not encroached upon by individuals dumping, clearing, or otherwise harming the land. Although lacking direct enforcement authority, the Natural Resource Manager works in concert with the Police Department, Inland Wetlands Officer, and City Attorney to address enforcement issues that arise. Of special note is the 2006 Encroachment Law (PA-06-89), a State law which allows the City to file suit and collect Attorney’s fees from anyone found dumping, clearing, or making trails on Open Space. The Natural Resource Manager is also responsible for updating the Open Space Plan, preparing grant applications, and otherwise assisting the Commission as needed.

Commission Members

Members of the Commission are appointed by the Mayor, usually after a recommendation by the Commission.

Tom Harbinson, Chairman.  Tom is the former chairman of both the Trails Committee and the Open Space Committee, and a Life Member of the Shelton Land Trust.  As owner and Controller of IDA International, a family business which produces and installs building facades on commercial structures, primarily in NYC, Tom brings his management, organizational, financial, blueprint, and computer skills to the Commission.  He is particularly interested in expanding passive recreation opportunities in our open space.  Tom's father Robert Harbinson was a Commissioner in the 1970's, and Tom was invited to join after he attended some Conservation meetings as an interested resident. Term expires August 1, 2018.

Bill Dyer, Vice Chairman.  Bill has been a relentless trail volunteer since about 1995 and is currently Chairman of the Shelton Trails Committee.  He was invited to join the Commission when Terry Jones resigned.  Bill's background is Civil Engineering with an MBA, his experience as a project manager and technical analyst have have been put to good use as he works to complete the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path.  He also focuses on Turkey Trot Trail and enjoys blazing new trails for others to follow. Bill's term expires August 1, 2017.

Jim Tate is a principal of Tate & Associates, a landscape architecture and environmental land planning firm, and he has a degree in Environmental Science.  He joined the Commission in the early 1990s at the request of Terry Jones to help protect and preserve the city's rural character.  Jim prepared the city's first open space inventory and map, prepared the initial Rec Path plan, and was a member of the Plan of Conservation & Development Update Committee.  Jim has been Planner and Landscape Architect for many Shelton projects: Shelton Riverwalk, Veterans Memorial, Farmer's Market, Constitution Park, Vision 2000 Downtown Planning Study, and Derby/Shelton Bridge Design Study.  Jim's wife Tracey Tate is Director of the Shelton Historical Society. Jim's term expires August 1, 2017.

Ed McCreery. Ed is Vice President of the Shelton Land Trust and an attorney with Pullman & Comley.  Ed joined the Land Trust around 1994, and after serving on the Board for several years was invited to join the Conservation Commission by Terry Jones, who was then Co-Chairman. Ed's term expires August 1, 2016.

Sheryl Maybeck Dutkanicz. Sheri is a member of the Trails Committee and an active trails volunteer.   She has been an advocate for recyling and volunteered with the Shelton Recycling Committee and has always been interested in preserving farmland and open space.  She is an active member of the Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society, a lifelong resident of Shelton, and is employed at Rehabilitation Assoc. in Shelton. Sheri's term expires August 1, 2016.

Tom Wilson. Tom is a lifelong resident of Shelton and Vice President of Wilson Agency, an Independent Insurance Agency. He is one of the founders of The Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day 5K, encouraging people to enjoy our beautiful riverwalk. He also chaired another downtown event, Hoptoberfest, sponsored by Derby-Shelton Rotary Club. Tom was active as a Boy Scout as a youth and as an adult leader working on projects to clean our rivers and trails. Tom and his wife Laura are regular users of Shelton's open space and trails (hiking, snow shoeing, dog walking). He is an outdoor enthusiast with strong interest in environmental issues.
Tom's term expires on August 1, 2023.

OPEN: The Commission is seeking a seventh member as of December 2017. If you are interested, send an email to conservation@cityofshelton.org.

Staff: Teresa Gallagher, Natural Resource Manager (formerly "Conservation Agent").  Teresa was a Commissioner in the mid-1990's, where her focus was establishing a trail system.  She has been webmaster of the Shelton Trails website since 1995, and has painted the blazes and drawn the trail maps for the city trail system. Teresa has an MS degree in Environmental Science and a BS in Geology & Geophysics, and has experience with drafting, site design and permitting, environmental regulatory compliance, and hazardous materials management.  She is sometimes confused with her husband, Terry Gallagher, who is a member of the Trails Committee.  

New Members: If you are interested in becoming a future member of the Conservation Commission, we recommend you become active by attending meetings or volunteering with the Trails Committee or Eklund Garden.