PROSPECT — In 1936, Boardman “Barney” Kathan’s mother bought 136 acres of land in Prospect with money she borrowed from her mother. A couple of years later, she bought another 40 acres.
Now, decades later, Kathan has ensured a large potion of his mother’s investment will remain open space for generations to enjoy for many years to come.
Kathan, a Prospect resident and treasurer of the Prospect Land Trust, donated 64.8 acres of land to the trust. The land trust accepted the donation in late May. On Sunday afternoon, a small ceremony was held at the land’s access point at the end of the Boardman Drive cul-de-sac to usher in the town’s latest open space addition.
“This is incredible. This is beautiful, everything has gone so well,” said Kathan, as he mingled with the crowd prior to the ceremony.
The donation represents the single largest gift of land to the trust, and the second time Kathan has donated his family’s land to the trust.
In 1998, Kathman donated 17.3 acres. The recent addition is contiguous to the previous gift and creates an 82.1-acre parcel of open space located in between Matthews Street, Plank Road, and Route 68 known as Kathan Woods.
“We can’t say enough about how excited we are to have full access to this hill,” said Larry Segal, a member of the land trust.
Kathan said he donated the land in order to preserve open space in the town for passive recreation, preserve former portions of the Quinnipiac Blue Trail, and preserve the land for the wildlife that live in the woods.
“There’s an incredible amount of critters and creatures that live in this place. … It’s a wonderful piece of woods,” Kathan said.
The land trust also took the time Sunday to honor the memory of a Prospect man who had a love for nature.
Frank “Bud” Doyle, who was also known “Farmer Doyle,” died in 2010 at the age of 89. Memorial gifts in honor of Doyle were asked to be made to the land trust.
Kathan explained the trust contemplated what to do with the money and decided on using it to buy a sign for the entrance of Kathan Woods on Boardman Drive, along with a bench and kiosk that sit a little ways past the entrance.
“This became the preferable thing to do because Bud loved the outdoors,” Kathan said.
These items were dedicated in memory of Doyle with his family present for the ceremony.
“Anybody who knew my dad knows how unpretentious he was,” Marjorie (Doyle) Devaney said, “when I think of this it’s the best legacy in the truest form of the word.”
Editor’s note: In the print edition of this article, which appears in the June 8 edition of the Citizen’s News, Boardman “Barney” Kathan’s name is misspelled.