Steep Rock Association in Washington has purchased 68.9 acres of farmland and forest adjacent the northern boundary of the Hidden Valley Preserve, located just off Bee Brook Road (Route 47).

The Bronson family owned and farmed the property since the 1930s.

The property was purchased with a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, as well as donations.

The site includes the ridge line overlooking the convergence of the Shepaug and Bantam rivers. The association plans to extend the Hidden Valley hiking trails into the new parcel. Plans are to eventually link the trails to the Bantam River Valley.

"Acquisition and protection of the Bronson farmland tract confirms Steep Rock's long-range vision and continued commitment to conserving this critical riparian corridor," said Steve Law, executive director of the Steep Rock Association.

The agricultural fields on the property will continue to be farmed, Mr. Law said.

-- Susan Tuz