Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust protects significant natural, agricultural, and scenic areas and encourages land stewardship in North Central and Western Massachusetts for the benefit of the environment, the economy, and future generations.
The Immediate Threat
We are at an important crossroads in North Central and Western Massachusetts, One road leads to the irreversible sprawl that we are all too familiar with. The other road will perpetuate our rich mosaic of forested and agricultural lands, healthy streams and ponds, biodiversity, and scenic and historic properties. The first road diminishes the beauty and importance of natural systems. The second road protects them, fitting human uses to natural systems. Development pressures are unprecedented. It is imperative to protect land while there is still a chance to do so. The next 5 to 10 years may determine the long-term character of our region. We have a great responsibility to guard against ecological and scenic decline.
The core strength of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is our focus on completing significant land protection projects and actively stewarding the conservation areas we own. Our effectiveness is a function of our “just do it,” no-frills approach. Keeping focused on our mission, Mount Grace balances creativity and innovation with sensitivity and responsiveness to the diverse conservation ethics held by the landowners of our region.
Mount Grace’s track record demonstrates our adaptability in efficiently matching the goals of landowners and the natural resources of their land with appropriate funding sources. Solution-oriented thinking is applied to the particulars of each potential project in the confidence that an appropriate conservation option exists for each situation. Staff members strategically evaluate, then educate, advise, and make referrals in response to requests for conservation assistance.
Respecting organizational differences while recognizing common interests, Mount Grace effectively collaborates with a wide range of conservation agencies, organizations, and individuals. Increasing the capacity of less experienced groups helps protect more land in our region. Concentrating on the benefits of reciprocally sharing resources and knowledge, Mount Grace makes good use of opportunities that arise. Collaboration similarly characterizes staff and board interactions.
Mount Grace’s status as a landowner and property taxpayer gives us credibility with other landowners when discussing land conservation and land stewardship options. We encourage land stewardship by demonstrating site-appropriate management of all our land, including ecologically sound forest management practices on portions of our conservation areas. We invite members and the public to experience forest stewardship firsthand through guided tours of our conservation areas before, during, and after logging operations. Our conservation areas, many of which have maintained trail systems, are open to the public for non motorized uses.
Neighborhood Land Trust
Most important is that the organizational culture of Mount Grace is compatible with the rural character of our 23-town service area. We are the neighborhood land trust, approachable by people of the region. That we are part of the local landscape, in the fabric and tradition of its social and natural communities, shows in the projects that comprise our organizational history. Bequeathed to Mount Grace in 1999, Skyfields is the farmhouse and forty acres of forests and fields that are our organizational headquarters. It is a place that exemplifies our mission, our work, and the trust of our supporters.