Gungywamp, Groton

March, 2010 by Ray Bendici

gwamp4The Damned Story: When many of us think of "ancient places" here in New England, most of us tend to imagine abandoned Colonial-era settlements or early Native American sites, either of which may only be a few hundred years old. But in Groton exists an unusual complex that has been dated back to nearly 2,000 B.C. -- now that's what you call ancient!

As with many truly ancient sites, it's not exactly clear who originally built Gungywamp or for what exactly it was created. The complex -- which is divided into north and south sections -- has many fascinating features, including a double circle of stones, standing stones and multiple stone chambers. At least one chamber is constructed so that during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, sunlight streams in through an opening in the wall and illuminates a "hidden" subchamber. There are also stone mounds, cairns, walls, petroglyphs and a rock ledge called "The Cliff of Tears" where visitors have been known to experience sudden bouts of inexplicable sadness or depression.

A few people who have visited the site seem to think that it may have been originally built by ancient Celts who came to Groton in hopes of establishing a new colony; others think that the mounds and chambers may even be some interdimensional portals. Not a shred of evidence supporting either wild claim has ever been unearthed at any point during the many excavations of the site.

gwamp7Evidence has been discovered suggesting that the site was first used by Native Americans for centuries, and then later by colonial settlers. The stone foundations of colonial dwellings still stand in a few spots. All in all, a treasure trove of damned history.

As you might expect, Gungywamp has been the focus of multiple professional archaeological explorations, which has unearthed a lot of information as well as everything from arrowheads and pottery fragments to coins and animal bones. One of the stone circles appears to have been a mill for extracting tannins, which would've been used in turning animal hides into leather. Some of the standing stones seem to be along astronomical line and could have been a calendar of sorts. The exact purposes of the chambers are unclear, but if the site was initially a sacred complex, then it's possible the chambers used in various rituals. Later, they were used by settlers as root cellars, among other things.

Investigators have also discovered that the area around "The Cliff of Tears" has a very strong electromagnetic field, which would explain the many odd feelings and reactions by those who come in contact with it.

Stone Structures of Northeastern United States has an excellent in-depth investigation of Gungywamp, including images, detailed maps and more.

gwamp10Our Damned Experience: We finally got to visit Gungywamp in March 2010 as part of a tour organized by Atlas Obscura, who was celebrating their worldwide "Obscura Day." Even better, it was on the vernal equinox, so we were able to witness firsthand the setting sun shining through a shaft in the calendar chamber and on the side wall, as you can see in this picture we snapped -- one of a bunch we took that day. (See the full gallery at the bottom of the page.)

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Just to the right of this image is the "hidden" subchamber, and a little after this picture was taken, the light reached that chamber. (Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a picture of that because there were a few different research groups there trying to record the moment, none of whom that seemed all that eager to share with the others.) In the gallery, there's a picture of the shaft from the topside.

Our tour was happily guided by Bill Dopirak, a member of The Gungywamp Society, who clearly has spent a lot of time at the site, researching and excavating various areas of it. He took us around to the many chambers and other structures, and shared what he knew about the site. Interestingly, it seemed like he originally started investigating here hoping to find evidence of the Celts or something unusual, but all their research and study seems to keep pointing to the same, not-surprising idea -- that various parts of the site were created originally by ancient Native Americans, and over the centuries, was taken over by colonists, who shaped the structures to their own, more mundane uses.

Despite that, many of the stone structures are impressive in their own right. The alignment of the stone circles along celestial events, and places like the calendar chamber, which were constructed with an eye to special days of the year, just illustrate the fact that the native people who lived here a few thousand years ago were a lot more intelligent and capable than most want to give them credit for.

A few other things of note to look for in the gallery:

  • The one stone formation that looks like the profile of a Native American.
  • The row of standing stones -- no one seems to have an idea of exactly what they were for. Astronomical timepiece, or a place to hold sheep while they were sheared?
  • The close-up of one of the standing stones in which a petroglyph of a bird is apparently carved.

Anyway, it was a damned interesting afternoon.

If You Go: Gungywamp is on private property in Groton, not too far from Route 12. The Gungywamp Society offers guided tours of the site from time to time.

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Comments

Submitted by SimonGodOfHairdos (not verified) on

I submit that Gungywamp be this blog's first group field trip!

Submitted by mumchup (not verified) on

I live in the area and have been up to Gungywamp many times. It makes a nice walk in the woods and it's a pretty interesting place. However there's not likely much to the notions that it's ancient, Celtic, or a ritual site. There are two old house foundations that are colonial or later.
The underground chambers are near the larger foundation, they resemble root cellars. One of them has a smaller ante-chamber to one side and a small window at the back. The sun does indeed shine through the window at or near the equinox. I've gone up to check that out and it's a pretty cool effect.
There are plenty of stone walls and a few small foundations scattered about and a few 2ft tall rough stones standinf on a row. One of them purportedly has an eagle carved into it but you have to use your imagination to see it as anything other than the natural curves in the rock.
There is a circle of stones on the ground, what they're for, who knows.

If there's a group field trip this summer, let me know and I'd be glad to be a tour guide.

Submitted by Clasca (not verified) on

I'll tell you what... I've explored that place in and out deep and deep... if you go deep you come to some very eerie places, I've also heard blood curdling screams walking through at night; Intense.... I seen also with my buddy one day two creatures orange in color with white... around 7 feet tall on hind legs... it was upon entering an open field with a small silo in it... We even found a house near but left because it was really sketchy.... I don't know if the creature was a monkey or what, glad it didn't kill me... But I've never seen it in a book before or anywhere... Anybody else got anything on this?????????

Submitted by Lonny (not verified) on

I have never been to Gungywamp but would love to go. Unfortunately I don't know the Groton area and the Gungywamp society doesn't seem interested in offering tours for just one or two people. Can anybody put me in touch with someone who would be willing to take a couple of local history fans there?

Submitted by Lonny (not verified) on

So I finally made it here on Obscura day (thanks for the link DamnedCT!) and it was pretty neat. Having a guide made a huge difference. If you can go next year on Obscura day and don't mind a little hike you should go for it! You'll learn a lot about local geology & early colonial history!

Lonny -- Steve and I were on that tour also! I was the one lagging behind with the camera and snapping lots of pictures. It's funny because afterward we were wondering if there was anyone who visited Damned CT there.

Submitted by Lonny (not verified) on

Ha! I was wondering the same thing...There were a few folks with cameras. A few people on the tour came b/c they saw a link to Obscura day on KC101's web site. Did you guys go into the little sidecave in the solstace room?

I went into the main "calendar" chamber and took a bunch of pics, but no, I didn't crawl into the side chamber -- I stuck my camera in and snapped a few, which predictably, didn't come out so great.

I will be updating this post with our experience and a lot of my pics soon -- so check back!

Submitted by Emily (not verified) on

This place is pretty awesome I have some images of the lake if you'd like them. I used to go fishing there with my father and my dogs when i was little. . .the only way to get in there is to park at the church near by and then walk in and run like hell as soon as you get past the no trespassing sign. . .

My father told me that when he was young it used to be a ymca camp..

I've been there soo many times. it's BEAUTIFUL

I'm so glad you guys made it out to Gungywamp for Obscura Day! Great article. So far, yours are the only pics we've seen. Drop us a line if you find any more from your group that took photos, we'd love to see them!

Submitted by Whitney (not verified) on

When I was a teenager, I lived in the Navy Housing on Burningtree, right across the street from where me and a friend used to enter the trail that led out to a YMCA building out there and then we'd walk and sit by the lake out there and then go for a walk around the structures. Almost every time we went out there, no matter what time of year or day we would go we would always feel like we were being followed and we would start to hear what sounded like someone blowing a whistle, it would come from one side of the woods and then from another and slowly sounded like it was getting closer until we would get too creeped out and run out of there. We never saw anyone while we were out there. One day we took a piece of paper and hid it under leaves by one of the structures and set a rock on top of it. It wasn't obvious that there was anything there but a rock on top of some leaves and we did this for the purpose that we always felt like we were being watched or followed. We came back the next day after school and went to the same spot by the same structure where we set the paper and the paper was gone! We were a little confused and creeped out because we didn't expect the paper to be gone.

Submitted by Dave (not verified) on

My mother took me here when I was younger, it is not haunted it is more a tourist attraction, I'm suprised the state hasn't really jumped all over it and developed it like they do everything else.

Submitted by Liz (not verified) on

I have lived in the Ledyard/ Groton area my whole life and never knew that this even existited. I actualy use Gyngywamp road all the time. Can someone tell me the best place to park and walk up, i would love to go see this!

Just a couple of notes:
The Celtics are a basketball team.
The people from Ireland, Scotland, etc., were Celts.
"Celtic" is also an adjective, used to describe items belonging to the culture of the Celts, but, as
a noun, it is only used to refer to the basketball team in Boston.

Groups were. Parts were. (not "groups was" or "parts was", as in, "there was a few different research groups there", which should be "there WERE a few different research GROUPS there". "Groups" being the subject, "were" being the verb.).
Glad you used "whom" correctly.
I'm enjoying reading this blog, but I pick on everyone's abuse of English. Sorry.

I lived up the road from this site when I was in high school, and used to run and hike through those woods frequently (I ran cross-country at Fitch).
The interesting thing is, while it is most suspected that the structures were built by ancient natives, the Algonquin "Indians" of this region were not known for building stone structures.
The site is pretty well still a mystery, as such.
It looks like they've uncovered a lot more stuff since I used to go through there (around 1986 and '87). I recall some of the larger structures, and standing stones, but not the double circle and a few other items pictured.

To Liz, not sure if it's still there, but there used to be an entrance to a boy scout facility (pavilion, camp ground) at bottom of the road (really the middle, but since both other ends are up hill, I'd call it the bottom). There was a private driveway just a bit to the east, with a mail box structure with multiple mail boxes, and some Navy housing across the road. Those Navy housing buildings would be the first, if you are coming from 84. If you are coming from Rt. 12, it's a bit after the church, on your left, and before going back up hill again.

Submitted by Steve Frank on

Tool ^

Submitted by Mike From Montville (not verified) on

ummmmmm these are all over Montville, specifically there was one in Oakdale by the heights which was taken out by LH Bond.

Submitted by Gungywampwer (not verified) on

Hello all you gungywamp explorers. I grew up in Gungywamp. My family owns 75 acres of the land. First of all there are no crazy munkey people living there, but it is occationally used by paintball groups. Second the paper Whiney left was probably removed by my family or the YMCA caretaker. Alot of kids vandalize the sites and they are always out there cleaning up. If anyone is interested in staying out there we rent a cabin.

http://gungywampland.info.

Submitted by JaneEyre (not verified) on

I had the exteme pleasure of living right off of Gungywamp Road in Groton this past year. I am a Christian believer by reputation, our belief is if a person is inhabited by a holy spirit then evil will never find them. I think I found something quite strange in my backyard! I am a nature-phile and have walked Copps Park, on and off trail, beautiful New England natural forests, strange electromagnetic-like feelings and sometimes very real other-worldly presences, noises, inaudible voices. I mustered the courage to hike behind the fence in my tiny backyard and was shocked to find an enormous ravine That I couldn't see from my second story back window...and it was DARK notwithstanding time of day. I got as far as a vary large boulder a few feet in, sat atop it for a while, felt *watched* I left a note underneath a stone as well, a drawing of a flower actually. I like giving things, like art. I never went back to see if it was there, I suppose I assumed it was for some one and they found it.

Let's talk about damnedct around Halloween...that's when creepy happenings I'd say came to a crescendo. Working in my studio in the back of our apartment, my two cats suddenly starting yowling and going nuts (the younger male had done this, the older female--black, manx breed--always keeps cool no matter what) our female black cat appeared from the other room like lightening and was CLAWING at my leg, the look in her eyes was that of terror, like she was pleading with me to come away from the window. The male cat was, I think trying to protect me. Outside sitting several feet out in the yard and directly in front of where I stood was a very strange-looking long-haired cream-coloured cat, it's eyes fixed upon mine, like there was something else behind them, like a soul or spirit. I thought it had come to proclaim my death! I was scared, yes. There were many stray cats in our neighborhood, none commanded this reaction from our pets.

Comparatively to Holloween's eve, when I went to Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI for the jack-o-lantern show. The two hour line to get into the exhibit was creepy, like i heard terrifing screams coming from the woods in the park, saw strange lights, I felt I could actually hear people's thoughts and they were so negative and terrible.

This could all be the time of year (All Soul's Eve) with location (creepy New England, witch hunts weren't mostly conducted here for the availability of FRESH SEAFOOD!) Place surely is something else for some one from Akron, Ohio. I think some places down in the South may come close to this in eerie-factor. I left the area clutching my Bible, glad I was NOT staying for winter! I would never go near Dudleytown or the Green Lady cemetary. Plain old Rotten Groton was enough thrills for me! Despite all that, there was something amazing, and beautiful about the area. How the Atlantic even looks as if it is trying to run from it's shore. There's a deep unsettling I could not figure out.

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

I grew up on Briar Hill Road; my brother and his friend use to hike all over
Lake Gungywamp/Lathan Reservoir woods and all these areas. They described the structures--how pleased I was to find that archeological research has been done on this area! As a kid I used to hike with friends on North Gungywamp Road when there was one family I was acquainted with--the Cowells (I think that was the name.) I think some of the weird noises are actually the screams of the fishers (relatives of the martens, weasels, ferrets, otters, minks--Mustelids)--you can hear them screaming at night...kind of reminds you of "The Taz". When they vocalize, they DO sound like someone is being attacked/murdered! Fishers have become more numerous in the Briar Hill Road/Gungywamp area; since we've lost more forest habitat to new housing (built since the 1980's--present), more woodland animals are exposed, including apex predators (such as bobcats, coyotes, etc.) We also have more feral cats/feral dogs making noise at "mating time." I believe some "odd sightings" are probably nocturnal animals, such as owls--as for being "watched"--we ALL are, by many animals in the woods who hunt/forage or are active at night. Unfortunately, there are also creepy HUMANS (psychopaths and disturbed individuals) with mental problems who ALSO tend to be solitary and hang out in wooded areas--and prank-playing adolescents who roam the woods and vandalize stuff. I'm more scared of THEM than any woodland animals....I'd love to hear from anyone else about the animals they're spotting. I DO enjoy the wild turkeys--they actually chase red and grey foxes and will defend their young from ANYthing!

Submitted by mickey pugh (not verified) on

I would love to contact someone who is taking tours of the Gungywamp area. I walked there several years ago and would like to return with two of our adult children. I would appreciate any information and/or phone numbers. Thanks!

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

Mickey--you might want to check with the family that owns the 75 acres of land around Lake Gungywamp/Latham Reservoir:

http://gungywampland.info

As for folks that experienced "creepiness" and your pets' extreme reactions, I believe much of this comes from:

A. How the woods look at night and under cloudy/misty/rainy conditions. It's harder to judge distances and light playing through the foliage (sunlight, moonlight or diffuse lighting you get at twilight/dusk/just before sunrise) or through branches can play tricks on your eyes.

B. The variety of forest animals roaming through these woods. Just last Saturday before the hurricane, I suddenly heard this blood-curdling "scream" after 11:00 PM not too far from our house. It frightened me because it seemed to erupt in front of our home, maybe only 50 feet away while I was getting groceries out of the car. I can now identify this scream with some certainty--we have many RED FOXES in the woods, in addition to the FISHERS and COYOTES. Go on YouTube.com, and type in "red fox scream" and
"fisher scream" in the search field. You can actually view/hear videos that show these gorgeous red wild canids "hollering" or "yelling" with a sound resembling somebody getting STABBED or ASSAULTED. You can also hear fisher "screams" or "howls" on YouTube, in addition to other canines, including wolves, coyotes, and grey foxes. Through these loud (and eerie to human ears!)vocalizations, these forest animals are doing several things, including calling for mates, announcing territory, intimidating possible predators, communicating information to their little "families" and letting other animals know "where they are." They're just doing their thing, but their
"vocal thing" can startle you into a heart attack, if it just "erupts" near you
or close to your house!

C. Your pets' reactions--dogs and cats have superior hearing and they often
bristle at the noise of other animals--domestic, feral and wild--moving through
the forest or producing vocalizations that we can hear, as well as sounds "ultrasonic" to human ears. That includes wild canids, felines, birds (including raptors--we now have resident hawks), mammals, deer, reptiles and amphibians in these Gungywamp woods that are moving about at all hours of the day and night!

"Cream-colored" or tawny animals may be bobcats and mountain lions/pumas, or even huge specimens of feral cats that survive in the woods. We have a semi-feral or feral orange tabby that seems to live in the ravine near our house. Since mountain lions/cougars/pumas HAVE been caught and killed in Connecticut recently, that might explain "big cream-colored" animals seen in these woods. I suspect we have quite a few bobcats back there--remember, many animals today have lost habitat in the entire Northeast, and they wander ANYwhere they can find cover. You may also hear these cats--feral, domestic, wild, wild/domestic hybrids--vocalizing at night. All these sounds ARE creepy/eerie if you don't know their origin! Check out the YouTube videos, listen several times and it will probably ease your mind the NEXT time
you hear these "unearthly" sounds of these "hollerin' forest folk"--our native woodland animals.

Submitted by Taylor (not verified) on

Pretty cool information ^^ :D

Submitted by Deb Peate (not verified) on

This was a great place to hike and admire history. We had to wait until the police left the area before we parked the car and ventured onto our adventure. We ended up seeing sites 8, 9, & 10 first and then back tracked to the other side before we saw the caves. We all thought this was an awesome place. Thanks for listing it on your site. Next time we may take the tour.

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

Does anyone know if:

1. Latham Reservoir/Lake Gungywamp is losing water or drying up? There used to be a tream that fed the lake--I remember drinking water from this stream when I was a kid and the water was good/pure and I didn't suffer any ill effects. (I wouldn't do anything like that now....). What happened to the stream that used to feed the lake?
2. The name of the family that owns the 75 acres of woods around the lake?
3. If the light you can see from Briar Hill Road belongs to the lodge or to another private family behind the lake?
4. Whatever happened to the YMCA camp that was there? When I was a kid there was a camp there--why was it closed down?
5. When the dam was built that created the lake?

Submitted by Doctrinaire (not verified) on

Baldwin

I have noticed you used a few commas improperly. For example, there isn't any need to place a comma before the conjunction "and," unless a complete thought is followed after the "and." Also, "a lot more" is improper English. Just using "more" is sufficient.

If you are going to correct others' English, then you should make sure your grammar is perfect.

: )

Submitted by Connie (not verified) on

Ah yes old navy housing,I lived on 373 burningtree and 53 burning tree, I remember the name gungywamp rd , mom wouldn't let me close to the rd, so I didn't get to experiene what was lurking in the woods. I miss Ct days.

Submitted by Josh (not verified) on

The Gungywamp property was left to the YMCA by Clarence Latham. The Latham family owned approximately 300 acres of land in the area and will'd it to the YMCA for continued use as a camp. The family also left the use of the 18th century farmhouse, The Jasper Latham house, that was on the land. The YMCA sold the home and it was dismantled and rebuilt in Vermont. The YMCA found it impossible to maintain the property and attempted to sell the entire property to developers. The Will clearly stated that if the YMCA was unable to maintain the farm and the home that the State of Connecticut should make the property a state park. The state of Connecticut is unable to take the property because by an act of the legislature, the State of Connecticut sold all rights to the land to the YMCA for 1 dollar decades ago. They did that because the will stipulated that if the YMCA was unable to manage the land then it would go to the state of Connecticut for a park. The YMCA wanted to sell the land and not have it go for a park so the State had to sell it's rights. The family stepped in during the 1980's when Joe Leiberman was AG and argued that the will of Clarence Latham was being completley ignored. By the way, the Federal Government took part of the land for housing as well. The property is a wonderful example of colonial farming and agriculture. A cranberry bog was on the property in the early 20th century. This area should be a well kept state park. In fact a Connecticut Superior judge ordered the State or YMCA to make the Gungywamp area a State Park in the 1980's, with Soccer Fields, Basketball Courts and Swimming pools. That ruling is currently outstanding and is being completely ignored. IF YOU think Gungywamp should be a State Park with the Colonial sites preserved, contact the Attorney General of Connecticut.
(860) 808-5318.

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

Thanks, Josh for the information! I wondered why everything just came to a "stop."
I would prefer that the land remain as is, so that the trees/forest can fill in more to make
habitat for wildlife. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a few "official" trails through
the wooded areas around the lake, and maybe a small visitor's "welcome" center with a few amenities....however, with too much "park development" comes too much traffic, noise, sewage/waste/trash disposal issues, "street, pharmacists" who want to distribute dangerous narcotics, boaters with noisy boat engines that leak gasoline and other dangerous fluids into the lake, and assorted other "state park" ills. Then there's also the issue of vandalism/destruction of the archaeological sites. In addition, Latham Reservoir/
Lake Gungywamp is part of the Town of Groton watershed, so I'm not sure it's a good idea to have thousands of visitors tramping through such a small area, lighting campfires whenever they feel like it or possibly contaminating the lake water with liquids or other
foodstuffs.

Submitted by Whitney (not verified) on

For the record, since vandalism has been mentioned several times with my name, the paper was already on the premises, I just moved it from one spot and put it under a rock and covered the rock with leaves, I didn't take spray paint out and go at it-yes I've seen the vandalism and thought it was sad that someone would ruin such a pretty area. I was not one of those punk kids, I was simply just out for a walk in the woods, since I grew up in Missouri, that is something I've always loved to do.

Submitted by Anne (not verified) on

Hi all :-) this site has a lot of information I've been looking for. Mr. Gungywamper I'll be calling to book a weekend. A lot of ppl talk about the formations on the land. So I'm curious

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

Does anyone know why large swaths of trees have been cut down near Latham Reservoir?
There is a HUGE area on the right side of the reservoir, completely stripped down of all trees and even all those Ice Age boulders have been removed. I often hear heavy machinery
back in the forest. Is a camp, park or recreation site being built?

Submitted by Tarah (not verified) on

What about the structures that are formed with a cornerstone, at a 90° angle? That was a Masonic trait seen in the location NOT mentioned in the article. And how was it discovered that the site dates back to 2000 bc? What proof is there of that claim? And honestly, any area in CT will of course have Native American artifacts surfacing, due to natural erosion and heavy rain, so i don't exactly see how that can be a conclusive clue. Lots of missing information here. And I have lots more questions that should be answered as well.

I don't believe the Indians built Gungywamp. Of course I wasn't there when it was built, but neither were any of you, so you don't really know either. It looks far more European than Injun.

Submitted by Rick (not verified) on

First, thing don't let the state of ct touch it everything they touch turns to crap. Second, I have seen the site and if it dates back 2000b.c. It's a nation treasure and should be made into a park protected from vandalism. Also, allow the residents to visit the site with calling this lad owner for a tour at the convence. I am sick and tired of people thinking they can buy American history sick. Lastly if it were an YMCA camp and they could not maintain the property they should have been able to get the funding from someone in this rich state to help. I say find the president of the YMCA and ask why he let the place fail he probably knows the owners now? Follow the money lots of crooks in this state and it's always about money before kids. Sad, there has also been lots of things on t.v. About the site lastly so I'm sure this will only raise interest land owner will make a ton of money and should have never been allowed to buy the land. Someone should investigate this circle of ownership changing hands from the YMCA to the owners now and so on.

Submitted by connie chen (not verified) on

i went to gungywamp when i was younger and there was a hobo pooping! he said he built it and its his bathroom. so i guess that solves the mystery..

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

For all you good folks who love the Gungywamp area--please be aware that, in addition to
all those lovely grey and red foxes, we ALSO have packs of COYWOLVES
running through the woods. When the ambulance sirens sound on Route 12 or
any nearby road, you hear the HOWLS of these wild canids. I have personally heard these pack animals howling in response to the ambulance sirens. You can read up on
these COYWOLVES--an Eastern coyote/wolf hybrid on Google.com and see them
and their buddies on YouTube. There's also a coywolf documentary on the NATURE website. Since the COYWOLVES tend to be more aggressive than the normally shy
coyotes, you should NOT be hiking through these woods alone, and
you may need to consider carrying a WEAPON or weapons to scare them off.
Also, make sure your CELL PHONE battery is CHARGED and your cell phone is WORKING, should you require emergency help. I have personally seen one near Lake Gungywamp/Latham Reservoir and heard at least one howling in our yard in the early morning hours (we live on Briar Hill Road). Remember that the coywolves tend to have more pack behavior traits than solitary coyotes--and they are LARGER than coyotes--so humans can easily be seen as PREY. If you want to hike through these woods, I highly recommend you go IN A GROUP, so that several members can constantly be on the lookout for coywolf packs, dens/nesting sites or any coywolf movement by either a lone individual or more animals. Also, I wouldn't want to hike with babies/toddlers/small
children in tow, as they are perfect prey and easily disabled by large animals.
Coywolves are intelligent, opportunistic PREDATORS and they can take down deer, so again, it's better to arm yourself with knowledge and take necessary precautions; you don't want your pleasant nature hike to be interrupted by your own personal coywolf/
human confrontation! You can read more about them on the Connecticut DEEP website
and other Google websites. ALthough I'm not a gun freak, I don't think there's any
harm in defending yourself from wild canid predators--especially large ones that hunt in packs--so whoever in your group is licensed to carry a weapon should probably be
the lookout. Remember that coywolves typically don't behave like the smaller coyotes,
and running activates their instinct to run after the prey as part of a sustained
attack. If you are attacked by a coywolf, "GO POSTAL", BEAT IT LIKE IT OWES YOU CHILD SUPPORT and DO NOT STOP UNTIL THE ANIMAL RUNS OFF OR IS DISABLED!!! Like wolves, coywolves have strong jaws, great biting force and strength. A pack of determined coywolves can readily go into "hunt mode" and employ wolf predation strategies. Any confrontations/incidents with these animals should be reported to both local authorities and the wildlife division of the Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection. Plan your nature hike, go in a GROUP, be prepared, enjoy your outing, but above all, BE SAFE, NOT SORRY! :-)

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

TO THE “PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER”–Most of us do not know which property you are
referring to as “private.” The wooded areas of Briar Hill Road/Gungywamp Road and environs sprawl over at least 160+ acres, and there are no clear “boundary signs”‘ to indicate which tracts of the forest are “private” or “public.” All the woods appear public from the Gungywamp Road view, the North Gungywamp Road view, and also from the Charles Barnum School area….and they also appear “public” from the Ledyard/Gales Ferry side. Perhaps you could indicate to the DAMNED CONNECTICUT readers: 1. Which areas are owned by your family; 2. How far the family property extends into the woods that border Gungywamp Road, North Gungywamp Road and/or Briar Hill Road areas; 3. If the Gungywamp archeological sites are on your property, or border your property;
and 4. What number “public” folks should call to inquire where your family’s property begins and “public” wooded areas end. This would help anyone who wants to hike or explore these areas–especially those that surround the archaeological sites of the Gungywamp complex.

Submitted by Property owner (not verified) on

If you are visiting the sites of gungywamp and have not formally been invited or signed for the tour than you are trespassing -

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

Many people who hike through the woods and explore its environs are not necessarily attempting to visit the Gungywamp archaeological sites. In fact, most visitors to these wooded areas are not always aware that such an historic site is in this area; nor are they always interested in visiting such. If you are stating that:

1. ALL of the Gungywamp sites are on private property; and
2. ALL VISITORS are “trespassing” who are hiking/exploring the wooded areas in and around Briar Hill Road, North Gungywamp Road and Gungywamp Road;

then you need to publicize such on DAMNED CONNECTICUT, along with the answers to the other questions previously posted. Otherwise, most folks in LEDYARD, GALES FERRY,
GROTON or MYSTIC who live nearby–as well as any other visitors–would assume that the huge tracts of forested land are wooded property which belongs to the TOWN OF GROTON. Since the wooded areas extend along Gungywamp Road through to Route 184 and intersect the public watershed of Groton, people have hiked and explored through these areas for well over 80 years–again, because the forest is perceived to be woods owned by the TOWN OF GROTON. If your family’s property extends toward, or abuts, the acreage owned by the CERAVOLO family and the TOWN OF GROTON, you would need extensive signage posted to precisely indicate the borders of your acreage–otherwise, it is impossible for anyone wandering in the woods to determine which woods are “private” and which woods are publicly owned by the TOWN OF GROTON and/or its watershed authority.

Submitted by Property owner (not verified) on

I don’t know if your interested in starting don argument or trying to clarify but because you wanna exaggerate this out I’ll post signs declaring private property and no trespassing and I’ll make a promise and the only answer I’ll give you to your “questions” is all violators will be prosecuted and I’ll be randomly patrolling the area. Thank you.

Submitted by Charity Dell (not verified) on

To the property owner of Gungywamp land–As a property owner I fully understand your interest in preserving your land and I’m glad that the Gungywamp archaeological sites are on it, which is probably the best way they will remain relatively undisturbed. Since I hiked through those woods decades ago–and coywolf packs freely roam through the forest now!–I have no personal interest in exploring the area at this time. The beautiful lodge you built and maintain as part of Gungywamp Land enhances the area and attracts people who enjoy nature and unspoiled views of the forest. Your ownership of this valuable open land is probably the best protection against commercial development, and a way to preserve
open forested land for wildlife habitat. I do understand why you may feel uneasy when
strangers “walk through”, hold picnics or freely “camp out” in the forested areas surrounding the retreat lodge, so I have no quarrel with your desire to protect the privacy of your family’s land and business. (You probably don’t want folks to light fires, smoke cigarettes, litter or vandalize your property. )This is just a clarification of a few issues:

1. The only reason I mentioned signage is because:
A. Your property is part of a much larger complex of wooded lands–the Water Resource Protection District– that border the Town of Groton public watershed; and
B. Most recreational hikers, explorers, families, Scout troops, etc. would naturally walk
into the woods on trails or roads from either the Ledyard/Gales Ferry side or the Gungywamp/North Gungywamp Road side, thinking they were still in the Groton watershed area.

2. Many hikers/recreational walkers, etc. may also inadvertently enter your property through the Briar Hill Road area, hiking back toward Latham Reservoir, which is part of the
Town of Groton watershed. Please be aware that many of these hikers/explorers are children and youth, and their friends/families. Most Groton youngsters–including those who live in Navy Housing–are accustomed to freely exploring the wooded areas found in the open spaces of Groton. This was customary prior to your family’s acquisition of the
property in 1977. I still see young people entering the woods from where I live on Briar Hill Road, and also from the Gungywamp/North Gungywamp Road side. (They’re usually harmless and don’t litter, so most of us adults on the Briar Hill side don’t mind them
passing through to the “back woods”.)

3. As you are aware, many of these kids (and the adults with them) also become lost and disoriented in the woods, especially when the foliage is dense, light is diffused or daylight is fading. If they are fortunate enough to spot your lodge’s clearing in the distance, they
may walk toward it in the effort to find help, get a decent cell phone signal or attempt to
find someone who can point them to the road.

4. You are certainly within your legal rights to want your property protected from outside
“trespassers/violators”, but it may be more prudent to exercise caution toward those
occasional hikers/explorers who may find themselves lost and/or wandering on your
acreage. Some of them may be carrying a loaded weapon to protect themselves from
coywolf packs or other apex predators. They might also just be out hunting deer or other game with rifles or bowed weapons. If you appear to threaten them–even though you are the lawful owner of the lands in question–they may decide to “shoot first and ask questions later”–because they may not know/believe you are the owner. If the
hikers/explorers are young people, and you appear menacing, brandish a weapon, etc.,
while you are randomly patrolling the borders of your land, you risk violent reprisal by either the kids or their families–who will not take kindly to their children being threatened in the woods by another adult. If–God forbid!–any of these young people should meet a violent end on your property and their bodies are found there, you risk arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.

5. You might want to get an attorney’s advice in advance concerning your legal rights
and responsibilities concerning occasional trespassers on wooded/forested land–and especially if they are minors under the age of 18. I don’t think you mean any harm toward anyone, and you sound like a responsible land owner/entrepreneur, so I’m sure you’ll
probably think through these issues carefully, with an eye toward preserving your family’s
business and generating “good will capital” within the town of Groton. Thank you.
Charity Dell March 18th, 2014 1:35 pm edit

FOR ALL THE GOOD FOLKS WHO LOVE THE GUNGYWAMP AREA–All of the wooded lands and forest of this area are part of the WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION DISTRICT for the TOWN OF GROTON, and are comprised of:

A. Public land which belongs to the Town of Groton; and
B. Private lands owned by the following owners:
Ceravolo, Gungywamp Land; Hall; Terra Firma; Giordano Properties (as of 2010).

These properties collectively sprawl over 1000 acres of forested land, and contain
lakes, ponds, brooks and streams of the public watershed.
http://dwqmp.com/index.php
860-446-4000

More information about the WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION DISTRICT can be found on the website for the GROTON OPEN SPACE ASSOCIATION:
http://www.gosaonline.org
860-572-5715 gosamail@gmail.com

1. All the GUNGYWAMP ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES–cairns, buildings, double stone circle, stone structures–rest upon private land owned by the VOGT FAMILY. The VOGT FAMILY are the owners of GUNGYWAMP LAND, LLC, since 1977. More information about the lodge and its 75-acre environs are available on this website:
http://gungywampland.info
860-446-1482

2. If you want to tour the archaeological sites of the Gungywamp area, you contact the
Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center folks to arrange a guided tour:
http://www.dprc/org/gungywamp
860-536-1216

3. Before you plan a hike/exploratory walk in the woods, you will need to
clarify which lands are private and which are publicly owned by the TOWN OF GROTON
and/or LEDYARD. Also, you will want to check with the respective towns for information on the extent of WATERSHED AREAS, which abut the private properties of:

Ceravolo; Gungywamp Land; Hall; Terra Firma; and Giordano Properties.

You must check with the private land owners for permission to hike, explore, hunt or walk through these woods and forested tracks. LATHAM RESERVOIR, also known as
LAKE GUNGYWAMP, is part of the public watershed for the TOWN OF GROTON.

4. The GROTON PUBLIC LIBRARY (860-441-6750) and the TAX ASSESSOR’S OFFICE of the TOWN OF GROTON (860-441-6670) can help you locate maps which clearly delineate lands which belong to the WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION DISTRICT, and lands which belong to private owners whose properties border the public watershed areas.

Although Groton and Ledyard residents have freely roamed through these wooded areas in past years, be aware that much has changed since that time. Careful preparation for your forest hike/walk/exploration now includes getting prior permission from private landowners
and town authorities; this is especially true for Scout groups, families, or other organizations. Pre-planning will help you avoid any legal difficulties or unintended
consequences with private landowners, business owners or municipal authorities.

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