Signs are up and a new walking trail has been blazed connecting the North Central Pathway to Winchendon’s Sunset View Farm.
The ½-mile trail was dedicated this weekend by volunteers from Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, North County Land Trust, and the Friends of Sunset View Farm group that worked to permanently conserve the 70-acre property as a whole farm forever.
Farmers Chuck and Livvy Tarleton placed a conservation restriction held in tandem by Mount Grace and North County Land Trust on their farm in 2019 and then worked with Mount Grace to add an option to purchase at agricultural value (OPAV) on the land and farm buildings—a legal agreement that allows Mount Grace to ensure that the farm will always be owned by farmers in the future. That agreement was signed this spring.
The farm includes woods that abut the North Central Pathway, and conserving the farm protects the scenic view from the bike trail. “We thought that the trail would be a tangible way to thank the local community for their generous support of the farm conservation project”, shared Livvy. “We hope that you enjoy our woods as much as you do our farm stand.” The new walking trail allows hikers to get a closer view of the forest and even walk to the farmstand, which is open for socially distanced business.
We’re thrilled to be together to celebrate opening this trail and protecting Sunset View Farm as our fourth whole farm forever project,” said Mount Grace Deputy Director Emma Ellsworth. “The OPAV model makes it possible for young people to purchase farms so that a next generation of New England farmers can build on the work of local food champions like Chuck and Livvy.”
"In the unsettling events of this past spring, people have turned to local farms for food security and nature for peace of mind,” shared North County Land Trust Director of Protection Jassy Bratko. “But to have local farms we need to conserve them, to allow young farmers to afford them and we need trails to enjoy our natural world. Sunset View Farm has it all – local food, an affordable farm and now a great trail!"
Sunset View Farm’s farmstand is open from 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday. The trail is open to hikers and walkers.