(860) 581-8554 [email protected]

CT River Gateway Commission


The Connecticut River Gateway Commission was first established in 1974 as a result of a failed federal attempt in the late 1960s to establish a national park in four separate sections along the entire length of the 410 mile river.  Modeled after the Cape Cod National Seashore park, citizens in the four states through which the river flows – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont – saw the folly of allowing the federal government to dictate how such a park system would operate.  They also felt that the amount of visitors that would come to the area each year and overwhelm local roads and small town centers, much to the detriment of the area. Further, locals –  hearty New England “yankees” – didn’t want to cede any control of their river to the federal government. Following the failure of this effort, residents in the lower Connecticut River Valley saw the wisdom in developing a “Conservation Zone” that would exist from Haddam and East Haddam south to the mouth of the river at Long Island Sound. A law was passed that formed the Conservation Zone and the Gateway Commission, charging it with overseeing the management of the “natural and traditional river scene” in the lower river valley for the good of Connecticut residents, current and future. The Gateway Commission, through zoning standards and through the preservation of undeveloped land by itself and with partners, has carried out that mission for the past 47 years.


Current Commission Members

  • Suzanne Thompson, Old Lyme representative (Chair)
  • Melvin Woody, Lyme representative (Vice Chair)
  • Claire Matthews, Essex representative (Treasurer)
  • Bill Webb, Old Saybrook representative (Secretary)
  • Susan Bement, Haddam representative
  • Tom Brelsford, Chester representative
  • Crary Brownell, East Haddam representative
  • Mike Farina, Haddam alternate
  • Greg Futoma, Old Lyme alternate
  • Tom Gezo, Old Saybrook alternate
  • Wendy Hill, Lyme alternate
  • Joel R. Ide, East Haddam alternate
  • Jenny Kitsen, Chester alternate
  • Misha Semenov, Essex alternate
  • Conal Sampson, Deep River alternate
  • Raul Debrigard, COG representative
  • David Blatt, Representative of the Commissioner of the DEEP

2020 Schedule of Meeting Dates

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (with the exception of November and December) at 7pm at the offices of RiverCOG, 145 Dennison Road in Essex.  Meetings will be conducted using “Zoom” meeting platform until further notice.

  • January 23 

  • February 27

  • March 26 (Zoom online meeting)

  • April 23 (Zoom online meeting)

  • May 28 (Zoom online meeting)

  • June 25 (Zoom online meeting)

  • July 23 (Zoom online meeting)

  • August 27 (Zoom online meeting)

  • September 24 (meeting location/format TBD)

  • October 22 (meeting location/format TBD)

  • December 3 (meeting location/format TBD)