The Last Green Valley: Modernization and Sustainability in a Three-State Area

  • Mariana SarmientoEmail author
  • Megan McVey
  • Matt Decker
  • Jonathan Peterson
  • Susan G. Clark
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


The Last Green Valley (LGV) was designed to achieve large-scale conservation by melding the needs of people and nature across a large landscape. Its roots are in the mandate by the US Congress to create a National Heritage Corridor in 1994. Despite development pressures, land and forest fragmentation, loss of farmland, urban and suburban sprawl, economic challenges for the region’s citizenry, and funding difficulties for the several organizations working to protect it, the region is perceived as an “oasis.” This problem framing has been helpful in focusing the public’s and leaders’ attention on the relative uniqueness of the LGV within a larger New England context. This chapter describes and analyzes the environmental, social, and management dynamics and challenges of the LGV. It also examines likely futures for the area and offers recommendations to accelerate progress toward environmental and economic sustainability. In doing so, we focus on three prototypes that offer a general strategy for large-scale conservation in the common interest. There is an opportunity to innovate more broadly and engage citizens, activists, universities, and political leadership more inclusively. Finally, leaders who are visionary, skilled, and knowledgeable, who understand various relationships and interdependencies in the community, are essential for future gains. These transformative leaders should be supported and encouraged to guide the organizations involved onto a path that seeks to identify and secure the common interest.


Large-scale conservation Last Green Valley Quinebaug River Shetucket River New England National Heritage Corridor Decision making Prototypes Partnerships Adaptive governance 



We want to thank the people we interviewed, our classmates, our guest seminar speakers, and peer reviewers of our manuscript. First, our classmates and coworkers on this chapter include Andrew K. Barnett, Elyzabeth Earnley, Jaimini Parekh, Tian Wang, Leigh Whelpton, and Sarah Wyatt. They worked with us in all aspects of our work. We also thank all the people we spoke with while doing our research and during our onsite visits, including Charlene Cutler, Susan Westa, Holly Drinkuth, Lois Bruinooge, and Steve Broderick. Also, our colleagues at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, David Parsons, Nathan Rutenbeck, Richard Campbell, and Mark Ashton helped with the Quiet Corner Initiative. Dan Smith provided background materials on the colonial history, modernization, and development in New England. Denise Casey provided critical review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana Sarmiento
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan McVey
    • 2
  • Matt Decker
    • 1
  • Jonathan Peterson
    • 3
  • Susan G. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Pew Charitable TrustsWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.Appalachian Trail ConservancyBoiling SpringsUSA

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