The Land Forever’s Honorary Chair, retired Congressman John Olver, championed land conservation funding while in office, including the US Forest Service Forest Legacy program. Of 119 tracts conserved in Massachusetts under the program, Mount Grace conserved 82. In fact, with one exception (Vermont), Mount Grace alone protected more tracts of land via the Forest Legacy Program than any state. Congressman Olver also led a 10-year effort to secure the New England National Scenic Trail (NET) designation for the locally known Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, one of only 11 national scenic trails.
The NET, Forest Legacy Program, and The Land Forever converge at a scenic overlook where, a decade ago, Sam and Barbara Richardson protected 38 acres at the top of Alexander Hill Rd. with a conservation restriction held by the Town of Northfield. The overlook, located on the NET, hosts a cabin and picnic tables, with views to the east and west. Mount Grace recently signed contracts to purchase the land and to partner with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), to share stewardship of the cabin and land. Both The Land Forever’s Stewardship Endowment and the revolving Leigh Youngblood Conservation Opportunity Fund are essential to this exemplary project and others like it.
The Richardson property (indicated between 2 and 3 below) with its expansive eastern view encompassing Mt. Grace and Mt. Monadnock is an appropriate location for a bronze plaque commemorating Congressman Olver’s role in establishing the NET and reinforcing his vision for the NET’s extension northward. His financial support is helping to make this vision a reality.