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Partnership Protects Monomonac Hill, New Trails to Follow

Mount Grace and North County Land Trust (NCLT) joined forces with Winchendon residents a year ago to protect 200+ acres of forest at the southern reaches of Lake Monomonac. With the support of grants from the Bafflin Foundation, the Roy Foundation, the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, and numerous individual donors, the fundraising to protect this land is now complete!  

The new 194-acre Monomonac Hill Conservation Area will be formally opened to the public for hiking, biking, and other passive recreation in June.

An additional 54 acres of wetlands south of the old White’s Mill Pond were protected and added to Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area last year as part of this project.

North County Land Trust is holding volunteer days to help get the trails ready before June. Find out more here!

Conserving this land helps secure the watershed of both Lake Monomonac and the Millers River. “We’re all connected by water and the forested land that it flows through, and by working together we can protect both”, said Emma Ellsworth, Mount Grace Executive Director, “Watershed boundaries are created by nature and rarely fall neatly within city or state lines. This makes partnerships across those lines essential to protect our water supply.”

Mount Grace and NCLT worked with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, a local private conservation buyer, town administrators, the Winchendon Springs Lake Association, the Monomonac Lake Property Owners Association, and many concerned Winchendon and New Hampshire residents.

“This is a multi-faceted project that required cooperation, understanding and effort from the whole community,” said NCLT Executive Director Anna Wilkins, “Of course, Winchendon is a great place for a project like that. We are pleased to partner with Mount Grace to pool our expertise and resources to help lead this land conservation project with the greater Winchendon community.” 

Conserving this land links the now-expanded Winchendon Springs Wildlife Management Area to hundreds of acres of forest conserved by the Town of Winchendon. Parts of this landscape are considered critical habitat by Massachusetts’ Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, so this larger connectivity ensures that species can migrate through diverse habitats to provide greater resilience to climate change.

“We are so fortunate to have so many people and groups who recognize how important it is to protect the land around our waterways,” said Renee Tambling of the Winchendon Springs Lake Association. “To be able to save such a big piece of land, especially in conjunction with all the other work that’s been done in town lately, makes a huge difference. This already resonates today, but I think future generations are really going to understand how important it was to get this done.”