Thanks to a Northfield family and a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation trails grant, Mount Grace has opened the Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey S. Ames Accessible Nature Trail, a loop trail at Mount Grace’s Alderbrook Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Northfield. The trail route winds through a stunning grove of white pines and culminates at an observation deck overlooking a beautiful hidden pond.
Help Mount Grace clear a path for the new trail at Eagle Reserve. Thanks to our big volunteer day on August 31, our new bridge is in and we are now much closer to the dream of a wheelchair-accessible trail to this amazing spot--home to otters, beavers, nesting bald eagles and a rich variety of wildlife!
Volunteers are still needed for a bit more trailwork, and we will be planting native shrubs within our new deer exclosures as part of our project to restore native habitat with support from the Hollis Declan Leverett Memorial Fund.
It was the land that inspired Rise and John Richardson to move to the North Quabbin.
The couple was part of a circle of friends that came to the Mount Grace region from eastern Massachusetts beginning in the 1970s. “We were among the last of our circle to come out here,” says Rise. “But we kept visiting our friends in Athol and Royalston and saying: ‘this is the place.’ We always knew we would raise our kids in the country.”
Land Conservation is a commitment to protect the places we cherish now and into the future. Now, more than ever, Mount Grace needs community support to protect cherished local landscapes. We invite you to consider the planned giving options you can use to support Mount Grace while meeting your own financial needs.
Legacy gifts can help you:
Jason Hakkila’s grandmother always wanted him to have “a little chunk of land to build a house on,” ideally on the Phillipston land that has been in the family for three generations.
Jason took that wish to heart, building his own home, working mostly solo from 7am-noon and then midnight-2am each day sandwiched around his second shift job with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department. “My best friend’s a plumber and my neighbor’s an electrician, so that really helped, but most of the rest I did myself,” he explains.
The conservation areas Mount Grace owns comprise 1,700+ acres of diverse landscapes, including miles of trails that are open to the public. To make it easier for people to enjoy places like these, our stewardship team is creating a set of maps for our public trails, and has been upgrading the signage at our public conservation areas.
Mount Grace encourages all our members and neighbors to enjoy the thousands of acres we have worked together to protect, including:
Thousand Acre Brook, which meanders through Athol and Phillipston to reach the Millers River, has long been a conservation focus. Wildlife studies have logged hundreds of species in its watershed, including 108 different birds, and Mount Grace has been helping local families protect land there for years. Our newest partners are Cindy Coppolino and her brother Kevin Schlicke, who have added 58 acres of family land to Phillipston’s Town Forest.
This summer, Ryan and Sarah Voiland realized a long-awaited dream by selling Red Fire Farm’s 124 acres in Montague to Mount Grace. The couple has no plans to move. Instead, they have signed a lifetime lease on the land, and will continue to run the farm in a new partnership with the trust.
Farmers Dan and Nina Keller have permanently protected 48 acres of their farm in the Mormon Hollow section of Wendell. Protecting the land is the newest chapter in the history of a farm that had been all but abandoned in 1969 when Dan Keller and several friends—recent graduates from Pioneer Valley colleges—bought the land together and moved there to farm as part of the back to the land movement.