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Greenbelt and the Town of Lynnfield worked together to protect the 21-acre Lynnfield Woodlot (formerly known as the Richardson Green property) on Main Street. Conserving this land provides access to existing trails on these 21 acres and will provide a gateway in the future to 500 acres of contiguous forest land owned by the Lynnfield Conservation Commission and the Lynnfield Center Water District.
Purchase and protection of this land eliminates the threat of additional wells in an area that is already vulnerable to drinking water stress, keep forests intact for cooler air, cleaner water and important wildlife habitat, and helps preserve Lynnfield's beautiful character.
While a developer had an agreement to buy the property as part of a 15-lot subdivision for $2,710,000, the Town had the right of first refusal and the opportunity to purchase the land. In late November, the Lynnfield Select Board voted to purchase the land and to assign the property to Greenbelt, and approved a Conservation Restriction (CR) for the land (read 12/1/21 Local Headline News article) In December, the Lynnfield Conservation Commission signed the Purchase and Sale agreement, and the Select Board exercised the Town's right of first refusal to purchase the land and ensure it is permanently protected. The Town sold the property to Greenbelt, who is responsible for creating and maintaining a modest parking area and trails. The Town holds a Conservation Restriction (CR) that permanently protects the land.
Lynnfield's 2020 Municipal Vulnerability Plan identified the protection of this land as a priority, and Greenbelt’s recently-completed County-wide land conservation prioritization ranked the parcel as a “Critical Priority” for drinking water, a “High Priority” for natural resilience, and a “Priority” for Inland Flood Mitigation.
An impressive $1,638,750 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant was recently awarded from the Commonwealth towards the purchase of this land, further underscoring the importance of conserving it. This grant - representing the largest awarded in our region and the third-largest in the state in this round of funding - was secured as a result of a collaborative effort between the Town of Lynnfield, the Lynnfield Center Water District, and Greenbelt with oversight from the Lynnfield Select Board.
"This is an exciting opportunity for Lynnfield," said Select Board Chair Dick Dalton recently, and a 2020 survey found that over 80 percent of responding Lynnfield residents felt it "very important" to protect this land.
According to Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of Ipswich River Watershed Association," With climate change causing hotter days, more drought and extreme storms, conserving forested open space like this parcel is one of the best tools we have to protect both our communities and the endangered Ipswich River."
The Lynnfield Select Board and Conservation Commission supported the project through the use of Conservation Funds, the state MVP Action Grant, and other available town funding.
The Ipswich River Watershed Association, Greenscapes North Shore Coalition and the Parker- Ipswich-Essex Rivers (PIE-Rivers) Partnership also supported this effort.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
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Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider