Signup for our Newsletter
Receive our latest updates by signing up for our newsletter!
2012 results bring Greenbelt total acreage conserved to 15,000.
Protected land includes farms, habitat and scenic landscapes throughout region.
Essex, MA, January 10, 2013 —Greenbelt, Essex County's Land Trust, worked closely with local landowners, municipalities, funders and other conservation partners to protect 445 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes in 2012, increasing Greenbelt's total acres conserved to over 15,000. In 19 projects spread across the region, Greenbelt helped landowners realize a conservation vision for their property and assisted cities and towns in furthering their open space objectives.
“As a regional non-profit land trust, Greenbelt is grateful to the landowners, members and countless supporters, including public and private funders, who make these projects possible, said Ed Becker, Greenbelt's Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be able to make several of these recently protected properties available to the public, free of charge, for outdoor recreation.” All of the protected land parcels will serve to create or expand “greenbelts” or natural corridors, and act as a buffer to further development and protect air and water quality in our communities.
A number of Greenbelt's conservation projects closed in the month of December and used the new MA Conservation Land Income Tax Credit as an incentive for landowners to make a conservation decision. Among them was the Bailey Farm in Haverhill. This 60-acre property on Kingsbury Avenue harbors spectacular forests, streams and ponds, and includes farmland the owners wanted to assure would always be available for future farmers. The Baileys worked with Greenbelt to donate a Conservation Restriction securing the land's permanent protection, and as a benefit, qualified for the state's Conservation Land Tax Credit. "This is what we wanted - to save it,” said Janis Bailey. “We're grateful that Greenbelt helped us through the process,” she continued. The Baileys intend to protect an additional 21 acres of their land near Chadwick Pond, which will allow for future public access.
In Newbury, Greenbelt worked with members of the Pearson Family to protect 4.5 acres of historic pastureland in Byfield center that has remained largely unchanged for ten generations Greenbelt worked with neighbors to raise funds to purchase a permanent conservation easement on this property, which was offered by the owners at a significant discount from its fair market value. The easement allows the field to be forever available for cultivation. The remaining portion of the protected land covers wooded wetlands that have high ecological value, and that feed the waters of the nearby Parker River, a regionally important waterway.
Also in Byfield, Greenbelt received a grant from the George H. and Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund to purchase 40-acres of priority habitat abutting the State's Martin Burns Wildlife Management Area. The wooded parcel contains important habitat for endangered species, and will also provide a potential trail link to Greenbelt's Indian Hill Reservation through its South Street Woodlots.
Two contiguous properties in Ipswich, owned by separate landowners, totaling 60 acres were also protected via conservation easements. As a result, a corridor of land including marshland along Essex Bay, running upland into agricultural fields and back down into the Ipswich River estuary, was permanently protected.
Two generations of Topsfield's Nutter family worked with Greenbelt to amend a long-standing conservation easement on their land to reflect its current agricultural uses. “After 15 years of living with our CR, we recognized some weaknesses in the protection of the prime farmland areas. Greenbelt staff worked with us to better protect the farm for all future farmers,” agreed Stina MacDougall and Ben Nutter. Thoughtful land planning, to assure the needs of the farm land owners and its future uses, helped to guarantee the perpetual protection of their land assets.
In Gloucester, Greenbelt worked in partnership with the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) to acquire the 20-acre Natti Woodlot abutting NEFF's Norton Memorial Forest. Plans for public access include the installation of a parking area and marked trails that connect to other nearby Greenbelt parcels and the extensive Dogtown trail system. “We are grateful for Erik and Theresa Natti's willingness to sell a significant parcel that provides additional public access to the Norton Forest. Collaborating with Greenbelt made the acquisition possible,” said Whitney Beals, NEFF's Director of Land Protection. As joint owners, the two organizations will share stewardship responsibilities for the new property.
Since 1961, Greenbelt has been working with local individuals, families, and communities to protect the farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic vistas of Essex County. With the addition of 445 acres in 2012, Greenbelt has protected over 15,000 acres of local land and has had a direct role in 75% of all local land conserved in the last decade. Greenbelt welcomes the public to explore its extensive Reservation System, where a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities can be enjoyed year-round, and free of charge. For more information about Greenbelt land conservation programs, events and membership visit ecga.org or call 978-768-7241.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
e. Contact by Email
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider