A key part of the Gateway Commission’s mission of protection is an ongoing land acquisition program that started back in 1983 with the acquisition of approximately 38 acres of land around Chapman’s Pond in East Haddam. That acquisition, made in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, would serve as a model for future land acquisitions through today. In all, the Gateway Commission has preserved by itself and in partnership with other conservation organizations over 1,100 acres of land in the lower Connecticut River Valley. Although most conservation is carried out through donation of scenic and conservation easements, some properties have been acquired in fee by Gateway and by partners with grants from Gateway. Those easements and the acreage are then turned over to other organizations for stewardship, including the State of Connecticut and local land trusts including the Chester Land Trust, the East Haddam Land Trust and the Middlesex County Land Trust. For organizations who seek to acquire and protect land in the Conservation Zone, the Gateway Commission can issue “seed” or matching grants to spur other organizations or individuals on to donate as well. Gateway also provides letters of support which are sent to organizations that offer funds for property acquisition in the Conservation Zone.