The Day - Sound & Country - - FRONT PAGE - By EILEEN McNA­MARA

Many vis­i­tors to this re­gion nat­u­rally grav­i­tate to some of its big­gest and splashiest at­trac­tions: The casi­nos, Mys­tic Sea­port, the beaches. But just down one of Mys­tic’s less trav­eled roads is a gem of an at­trac­tion that lo­cals have en­joyed for decades and tourists in re­cent years have learned to ap­pre­ci­ate.

At the Deni­son Pe­quot­se­pos Na­ture Cen­ter you can ex­pe­ri­ence the won­ders of south­east­ern Con­necti­cut’s nat­u­ral bounty and learn about its an­i­mals, flora and fauna.

Back in 1946, when Mys­tic was still mostly a back­wa­ter out­post in east­ern Con­necti­cut and long be­fore it would be­come a tourist mecca, a group of for­ward-think­ing lo­cals, led by mem­bers of area gar­den groups and an or­ga­ni­za­tion called the Deni­son So­ci­ety, de­cided to pre­serve some 300 acres off Pe­quot­se­pos Road.

It was just af­terWorldWar II and as men were com­ing home from war and fam­i­lies re­con­nect­ing, their was a grow­ing sense among some lo­cals, says Mag­gie Jones, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the cen­ter, of re­con­nect­ing with the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment as well.

The mis­sion of those early con­ser­va­tion­ists, Jones says, was to “give the cit-

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