Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (WRLF) announces the preservation of 117 of farmland and 12 acres of Hemlock Brook watershed land in Williamstown. (fwd)

Contact: Leslie Reed-Evans, Executive Director

Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation

Williamstown land preservation projects completed

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (WRLF) announces the preservation of 117 of farmland and 12 acres of Hemlock Brook watershed land in Williamstown.

The WRLF worked with the Galusha family to facilitate the preservation of 117 acres of their farm, Fairfields Dairy, through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program, a purchase of development rights program created almost 30 years ago to preserve the state's most productive farmland.

The Galusha family has been farmers in Williamstown for many generations. Their farm is the largest dairy operation in Williamstown and has an unusual percentage of soils classified as Prime Farmland and State Important for this area of Northern Berkshire, making it a strong candidate for protection through the APR program.

The farmland is located along Green River Road, one of Williamstown's most scenic roads, and Blair Road, has frontage along the Green River, and contributes significantly to the rural character of South Williamstown.

Leslie Reed-Evans, Executive Director of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, states: "The WRLF is most grateful to the Galusha family for working to preserve their land, to the Commonwealth for its strong support of land preservation through programs such as the APR, and to the Williamstown community for their support of the Community Preservation grant to help make this project possible." The Fairfields Dairy preservation project was a high-priority one for the WRLF as part of their farmland protection program and their efforts to promote a viable local agricultural economy.

Richard Lamb and Holly Taylor donated 12 acres of land off Sweetbrook Road and adjacent to town-owned Margaret Lindley Park to the WRLF on December 29, 2010. Through this gift they are ensuring permanent public access to and preserving a significant section of Hemlock Brook. The land expands an area of open space that includes Town and privately owned conservation lands.

The property offers significant potential for expanding the Margaret Lindley Trail system, providing the public with the opportunity to enjoy an area not often visited. Large hemlock trees line the brook, a tributary of the Hoosic River. Protecting the clear mountain streams that feed the Hoosic has been a priority for the WRLF, which also owns 35 acres along the brook upstream, near the former Williams College Berlin Mountain ski area.

"The WRLF is most grateful to Richard and Holly for adding this scenic and important conservation property to the inventory of publicly accessible lands in Williamstown" says Reed-Evans. Work to improve the existing informal trails and an official dedication will take place in the summer of 2011.

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is a non-profit, member-supported land conservation trust committed to preserving the rural New England character of Williamstown and the surrounding area, celebrating its 25th year in 2011. Its headquarters are located at Sheep Hill, a conservation property and former small family farm. The WRLF hosts educational programs and events at Sheep Hill and other properties throughout the year. For more information visit www.wrlf.org.

Leslie Reed-Evans
Executive Director
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation
Sheep Hill
671 Cold Spring Road
Williamstown, MA 01267

lre@wrlf.org www.wrlf.org


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