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Greenbelt worked with the City of Haverhill to conserve over 22 acres of land that are vital to preserving Haverhill’s drinking water supply, rare species habitat, and working farmland. Thank you to all who supported this project!
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.
Before being permanently protected, this property was under agreement to a developer with plans to construct up to nine houses on the property. Residential development would have impacted the water supply by contributing new impervious surfaces, which lack the ability to filter clean water as natural vegetated areas do and act as conduits for contaminants from lawn chemicals, oils and other potential residential pollutants.
However, under Massachusetts law, the City exercised its option to purchase the property for $400,000. The City assigned its purchase option to Greenbelt, who acquired the property, sold approximately 13 acres of forestland to the City for water supply protection for $150,000, and retained the remainder. Limited farming will continue on the fields that Greenbelt owns, keeping the fields open while ensuring farming practices don’t impact drinking water.
The Corliss Hill Conservation Project allows Greenbelt to create a new public trail that will connect to existing trails, offering maps and signage as described in this local news article.
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 will become public, and Greenbelt will create an extension for an entrance off of Corliss Hill Road.
Read about the completion of this project here.
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.
Total Project Cost $ 400,000
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider