With more than 1 million critical conservation acres still unprotected in Massachusetts and 13.5 acres being developed daily, there is an urgent need to conserve land at a larger scale and faster than ever before.
Developed by our long-time conservation partners at Harvard Forest, the vision of Wildlands and Woodlands calls for 70% of our farms and woodlands to be protected by 2060. Abiding by these guiding principles, Mount Grace has pioneered collaborative projects involving multiple partners allowing us to save land on a larger scale than when we work independently. When we work together, we can have tremendous impacts on biodiversity, watersheds, and wildlife corridors. Most recently, Mount Grace successfully completed the Quabbin to Wachusett initiative, protecting more than 4,000 acres across the towns nestled between the Quabbin Reservoir and Wachusett Mountain. This collaborative project was fueled by the interest and generosity of more than thirty private woodland owners and our partnerships with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Fitchburg Water Department, East Quabbin Land Trust, North County Land Trust, Nashua River Watershed Association, Harvard Forest, and the towns of Phillipston, Barre, and Petersham.
Given the significant landowner interest, urgent direct threat of development, and the importance of this region scenically, we are exploring a second project in the same region. This will entail significant outreach to landowners in order to put together enough acreage to qualify for a second competitive Forest Legacy grant of the U.S. Forest Service. There are no short cuts to building these relationships, understanding the owners’ goals with their property, and crafting the right restriction to marry their needs and the conservation values of their land. This is a bold project under challenging circumstances, but the potential positive impact on our region is worth the risk.
Please contact Mount Grace if you or your friends are interested in protecting their land or helping to fund this important work.