Eagle Reserve Conservation Area is a 139-acre mix of woods, wetlands, and open water that is one of the North Quabbin's most breathtaking unprotected areas. Mount Grace now owns the property after working with the Town of Royalston and with community members to protect the land permanently. Home to nesting Eagles, the reserve will be open to the public and will serve as a natural classroom to support science education at the nearby Royalston School through our MassLIFT AmeriCorps program.
After protecting the land, Mount Grace received a 2016 Recreational Trails Program Grant of $48,816 to help create low-impact access for all at the Reserve. Volunteer work will start in the spring to create an accessible loop trail leading to a bird blind and a second trail on the southern peninsula leading to a canoe launch and a foot bridge to a small island. The new trails will channel public access on this sensitive natural site to areas selected to minimize impact on the wildlife and natural communities that thrive in the reserve. The reserve can currently be accessed from an orange-flagged trail off Winchendon Road with parking at the state wildlife reserve across the street (download map above).
Benches, blinds, signs, kiosks, and the bridge for the new trail system will be constructed on-site at workshops open to the public. When completed, the trail system will provide people with limited mobility access to the beauty of this amazing wildlife refuge—a patchwork of ponds and wetlands providing habitat and refuge for wildlife in a sheltered wetland where no signs of human habitation are visible.
A breeding pair of bald eagles has nested near the waterside in past years. Rare pied-billed grebes are also found on the reserve, and a visit from the Mount Grace Conservation Committee logged sightings of blue heron, Canada Geese, bald eagles, ravens, mallards, hooded mergansers, black ducks, and a rare juvenile golden eagle.
The project closed on August 24, 2016, permanently protecting the heart of a vast, isolated wetland situated in the heavily forested landscape of north central Massachusetts, providing an important refuge for migrating waterfowl as well as an exceptional breeding location for threatened bird species. You can see a short video of drone footage featuring the reserve or click on Jeff Blanchard's amazing eagle nest photos below to expand them.
The Royalston Eagle Reserve Conservation Area was funded in part by grants from the Massachusetts Local Acquisition for Natural Diversity (LAND) Program, the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) program, the Fields Pond Foundation, and the Community Foundation for North Central Massachusetts.
Mount Grace has raised the $36,000 needed to complete this project. Thanks to everyone who supported the Eagle Reserve with a tax-deductible gift of any amount.
Gifts Made 93
Amount Raised $36,000+
Gifts raised after 8/28/16 will support the land conservation and stewardship work of Mount Grace.