Signup for our Newsletter
Receive our latest updates by signing up for our newsletter!
Greenbelt has the opportunity preserve over 22 acres of land that are vital to preserving Haverhill’s drinking water supply, rare species habitat, and working farmland.
The Corliss Hill Conservation Project is nestled next to nearly 400 acres of preserved watershed land owned by the City of Haverhill. This is one of a handful of properties left on Corliss Hill Road that add to the scenic, agrarian character of this part of Haverhill. Open fields nearer to the road have been historically farmed for over a century; most recently for hay and annual grazing.
Beyond the fields the land slopes down through dense hardwood and white pine forests to the East Meadow River, which feeds the reservoir supplying two-thirds of the City’s drinking water supply.
The property is currently under agreement to a developer with plans to construct up to nine houses on the property.
Residential development would impact the water supply, bringing more impervious surfaces, which not only don’t have the ability to filter clean water as natural vegetated areas do, but act as a conduit for contaminants from lawn chemicals, oils and other potential residential pollutants.
However, under Massachusetts law, the City has the option to purchase the property for $400,000. The City has agreed to assign its purchase option to Greenbelt. Greenbelt will acquire the property, sell approximately 13 acres of forestland to the City for water supply protection for $150,000, and retain the remainder. Limited farming will continue on the fields that Greenbelt will own, keeping the fields open while ensuring farming practices don’t impact drinking water.
The Corliss Hill Conservation Project would allow Greenbelt to create a new public trail that would connect to existing trails.
The landowners have historically allowed neighbors to use trails on the property for walking and horseback riding; these trails connect to adjacent trails on the City’s watershed land, and beyond that to Brandy Brow Road, a closed road that is also popular with local residents for recreation. Through this acquisition, the existing trails would become public, and Greenbelt would create an extension for an entrance off of Corliss Hill Road.
Preserving this parcel will catalyze the conservation of the adjacent property, which was historically part of the same farm. The neighboring owners have agreed to preserve their land, as well, if 97 Corliss Hill Road is able to be preserved, resulting in over 40 acres of land permanently protected in this important watershed.
82 Eastern Avenue, Essex,
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.