The ambitious Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project protected a diverse 750 acres in the Millers River watershed and was completed in late 2022. The total of 13 parcels, located in Warwick, Orange, and Royalston, enhance the protected ecological landscape, expanding wildlife corridors and increasing ecosystem resilience.
The biodiverse properties that make up this project include a working sheep farm, working forests, and riparian habitat along Gales Brook, Rum Brook, Black Brook, Hodge Brook, and Fish Brook. Eleven of the parcels are within 500 feet of a pond, stream, or wetland, and each individual parcel is adjacent to protected open space. Together they fill in gaps to create an impressive patchwork of protected land, and are at the forefront of collaborative, locally-led community conservation.
Protecting 750 acres, and creating three new public trails, is a rare and special opportunity. Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and Mass Audubon engaged and partnered with each landowner on how to protect their property in the context of this effort. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, as well as the Towns of Warwick and Orange also joined this landscape-scale conservation campaign.
Protection of these properties has so many benefits. It will:
- Protect the vital waterways and habitat for countless species of flora and fauna
- Boost climate resilience by providing flood water storage and expanded wildlife corridors for species to move
- Ensure the continued carbon storage of this forested landscape
- Provide increased public access for outdoor recreation
- Engage regional students in experiential outdoor learning
- Help landowners achieve long-held conservation visions
The Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project represented a unique chance to celebrate and conserve a special set of connected properties in a place where development is accelerating. The land trusts, state agencies, community leaders, and landowners behind this project, and most importantly the support of our many community members, were able to make this vision a reality.
You can support projects like this by supporting the ongoing work of Mount Grace.