How & Where We Work

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Breathtaking views from the water to hillside

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission’s responsibility lies within the area that spans the hillsides on both banks of the river, running from Haddam and East Haddam south to Long Island Sound. Various tributaries and coves within the Zone are also part of the Gateway Commission’s responsibility.

The river stretches roughly 20 miles from the Zone’s northern border to its southern border. Over its winding course through the 8 towns in the Zone, the river has approximately 59 miles of coastline.

We are fortunate that this lower Connecticut River valley remains largely unspoiled.

Marvel at the scenery looking out from Gillette’s Castle, from the Essex Village riverfront, from the Deep River Town Landing. Enjoy a beautiful, leisurely ride on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry, a crossing that first operated over 250 years ago. Stroll along the riverside and through marshes on the Ferry Landing State Park boardwalk in Old Lyme. Try your hand at fishing or crabbing there, or just spend peaceful time on a bench.

The Gateway Commission was established almost 50 years ago to lessen the visual impact and density of development of development in this scenic river valley.  The Commission partners with the eight towns in the Zone, working with Planning & Zoning Commissions, Zoning Boards of Appeals, land use staff and conservation partners to manage today’s development for future generations.

The Commission has two primary tools for this work — the purchase of land or development rights to permanently conserve property, and the adoption of zoning standards to oversee hillside building.

If you would like to be a part of this successful partnership, email the Commission at

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Ramsar logo overlays the a photo of the Connecticut River

The Connecticut River has a very impressive list of honors.

The lower river and its wetlands complex were named by the International Ramsar Convention as being “internationally important.” The river tidelands, including the Zone, are considered one of the Western Hemisphere’s “40 Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy. It is the first, and only, National Blueway per the federal Department of the Interior. And it is an “American Heritage River.”