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Landscape Conservation: Nineteenth Hill CRs protect 700 acres of Forest in Winchendon

Collaboration by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, the Town of Winchendon, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, and the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership has completed a landmark land conservation project protecting 866 acres of land in Winchendon, including two entirely new conservation areas.

The 233-acre State Line property, on Bosworth Road, will now be managed by the Department of Fish and Game.  The Town of Winchendon will own 490 acres of Nineteenth Hill, off Teel and Old County Roads, adjacent to Mount Grace’s Fern Glenn Conservation Area.  Both areas, which are heavily forested, will be protected in perpetuity and open to the public for hiking, hunting, and fishing.  All of the newly conserved land is considered important wildlife habitat by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program—Nineteenth Hill is part of one of the biggest interior forest blocks in Massachusetts. Thanks to the foresight of Winchendon residents, the land will now be forever open to the public for outdoor recreational opportunities including hiking, nature study, hunting and fishing.

At a Special Town Meeting, Winchendon residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of spending $1.2 million to buy both properties.  The Department of Fish and Game then paid the town $600,000 to acquire the State Line parcel in full and purchase the development rights for Nineteenth Hill.  To complete the deal, the town donated an additional 20 acres abutting the existing Birch Hill Wildlife Management Area to the state, and Mount Grace donated a conservation restriction to the state on its 133-acre Fern Glenn property, a lush conservation area with walking trails open to the public donated to mount Grace by Nathan Olson.

 

Thousands of acres of open space have been protected in Winchendon in the last several years:

 

 

Fern Glenn is easy to reach from Gardner, and a popular destination for hikers: