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Hilltown Land Trust protects 38 acres in Chesterfield

“This is a beautiful property protecting important habitat and a wonderful addition to the Hilltown Land Trust’s 3,100 acres of protected land,” said Sally Loomis, executive director of the Hilltown Land Trust, a partner of the Trustees of Reservations.

Sisters Grace Kingsbury and Alice Williams own the 38-acre property, which is now protected by a conservation restriction.

“This property has been in my mother’s family since 1864, and it is very special to our family. We wish to preserve it in a natural state as long as possible in order to maintain its natural and scenic values and to benefit the wildlife habitat which it supports,” Kingsbury said in a statement released by the Land Trust.

The land also has been identified as containing “core habitat” — land suitable for rare, vulnerable or uncommon animal and plant species — and “critical natural landscapes” — areas that support and maintain connections between habitats and enhance ecological resilience.

Agriculture and forestry will be permitted on the land, along with passive recreation. Public access will be at the discretion of current and future landowners.

The conservation restriction qualifies for a Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit, which gives a tax credit of 50 percent of the value of the land, up to $50,000, to the landowners.

“We are grateful to Grace Kingsbury, Alice Williams and their family for ensuring this wonderful resource remains for generations to come,” Loomis said.

The Hilltown Land Trust works to conserve ecologically important wildlands, economically and culturally important working lands and the scenic beauty and rural character of the Hilltowns. Since its founding in 1986, the all-volunteer land trust has acquired 29 conservation restrictions which cover more than 2,500 acres of farmland, forests, streams and wetlands, as well as 576 acres under agricultural preservation restrictions.

The land trust serves 13 rural towns in western Massachusetts: Ashfield, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Windsor and Worthington.

Since 1891, the Trustees group has held in trust and cared for open spaces called reservations.

From working farms and historic homesteads to formal gardens, barrier beaches and mountain vistas, the Trustees own and care for nearly 26,000 acres in more than 73 communities, all of which are open to the public.

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