Since 1986, Mount Grace has helped protect more than 36,000 acres in Massachusetts, including dozens of family farms and public conservation lands in thirty-one towns.
From the farms that provide our local food to the Quabbin Reservoir to the forests and trails in Worcester and Franklin counties, Mount Grace protects the natural and working landscapes that define the character of our communities and support our local economy.
The members of Mount Grace have done remarkable things to save many special and beloved places. Yet, a vast amount of the land we love is not protected. To keep our quality of life for the future, we need your help to ensure that this area remains beautiful, quiet, and free to enjoy and that the land we love will be here forever.
This year's projects include:
PROTECTING THE GREATER GALES BROOK IN WARWICK, ORANGE & ROYALSTON: Mount Grace is working with Mass Audubon, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Towns of Warwick and Orange, and 12 landowners to protect 700+ acres in the Millers River watershed. The biodiverse properties that make up this project include a working sheep farm, working forests, and riparian habitat along Gales Brook, Rum Brook, Black Brook, Hodge Brook, and Fish Brook. These parcels have been carefully selected to knit together existing protected land, creating vast contiguous reserves of forest and open space where diverse elevations and topography lead to ecological variety. Landscapes like these are considered most likely to remain resilient in the face of climate change—creating a bioreserve that can help mitigate the impacts of a warming planet.
ENSURING PERMANENT ACCESS TO THE RICHARDSON OVERLOOK IN NORTHFIELD: Hikers on the New England National Scenic Trail know the Richardson Overlook as one of Northfield’s hidden gems. Accessible via the trail, the vista offers a panoramic view of the New England forest, taking in the summits of Mount Grace, Mount Ascutney, Mount Wachusett, and Mount Monadnock. Mount Grace is fundraising to purchase the 38-acre property from Sam and Barbara Richardson and working with the Appalachian Mountain Club to ensure permanent access for the trail and protect it as recreation destination.
ADVANCING STEWARDSHIP WITH REMOTE MONITORING: As a Land Trust Alliance accredited land trust, the annual monitoring of all the properties we own or hold a conservation restriction (CR) on is vital to the overall stewardship of these conserved lands. Every year, we monitor 98 properties with CRs. With the support of remote monitoring, which uses satellite imagery to monitor for ecological and physical changes to our conserved lands, we will be able to invest more resources addressing landowners’ questions and concerns and maximizing our land protection impact, while reducing our carbon footprint.
SUPPORTING FARMS IN THE REGION AND BEYOND: Mount Grace is working to protect local pasture and forest land in Petersham that provides opportunities for the community to board their horses and continue the rural tradition of horseback riding. This farmer has graciously hosted workshops for landowners to learn about sustainable practices to manage pasture and hayfields. Doe Valley Farm will soon join the more than 4,000 acres of farmsteads permanently protected by Mount Grace.
We also support markets for fresh local food by hosting the Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op at our building in Orange. These projects help keep farms in Worcester and Franklin Counties viable and available for the next generation of farmers.
WORKING WITH THE NIPMUC TO ACCESS LAND, UPLIFT INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE AND CULTURE: Collaborating with members of the Nipmuc tribe, Mount Grace signed our first Cultural Use and Respect Agreement with the Nipmuk Cultural Preservation Inc. This agreement invites all Nipmuc citizens to the land and reserves them rights, such as harvesting medicinal plants, camping, and holding ceremonies on the land. We are working with Fred Freeman of the Nipmuk Cultural Preservation Inc. to identify the location for our next agreement.
Please join the thousands of people who have supported Mount Grace’s work since 1986, and the hundreds of new members who have joined Mount Grace online!