Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/sunny
44°
M/sunny
Hi 64° | Lo 43°

57 acres in Hadley near Connecticut River protected from development

  • Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday, with Mount Nonotuck behind them to the west. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday, with Mount Nonotuck behind them to the west. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Richard Thayer Jr. stands by one of a pair of ponds he swam and fished in as a boy on his family's land in the Hockanum section of Hadley. The family's barn can be seen through the trees with Mount Hoyoke in background. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Thayer's farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Richard Thayer Jr. stands by one of a pair of ponds he swam and fished in as a boy on his family's land in the Hockanum section of Hadley. The family's barn can be seen through the trees with Mount Hoyoke in background. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Thayer's farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm. The land has a view to the west of Mount Nonotuck, behind them.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm. The land has a view to the west of Mount Nonotuck, behind them.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday, with Mount Nonotuck behind them to the west. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Richard Thayer Jr. stands by one of a pair of ponds he swam and fished in as a boy on his family's land in the Hockanum section of Hadley. The family's barn can be seen through the trees with Mount Hoyoke in background. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Thayer's farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm. The land has a view to the west of Mount Nonotuck, behind them.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Mary and Richard Thayer Jr. walk their land in the Hockanum section of Hadley Tuesday. The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of their farm land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • The Kestrel Land Trust is conserving 38 acres of Mary and Richard Thayer Jr.'s farm land off Hockanum Rd. in Hadley under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, or APR. The land is currently farmed by Barstow's Longview Farm.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

“We feel the land was given to us and we are the caretakers,” he said. “It’s nice to feel that this prime farmland will stay in agriculture forever.”

The 38-acre Thayer farm on Hockanum Road is one of two parcels in the southernmost part of Hadley that will be preserved through the efforts of the Kestrel Land Trust, an Amherst organization that seeks to conserve land and maintain the ecology of the Pioneer Valley.

Thayer and his wife, Mary, received $38,000 for the development rights to the land.

The other parcel consists of 19 acres of woodland abutting Skinner State Park that the trust bought from William Handrich for $496,000 and donated to the town of Hadley.

The money for the two land conservation purchases comes from a $577,000 federal National Scenic Byways grant designed to protect land along Route 47 in Hadley and South Hadley.

“This move protects the Thayer farm for future generations,” said Kristin DeBoer, executive director of the Kestrel Land Trust. “And it could help to inspire other landowners in Hadley and South Hadley to look at the historic landscape value of their properties, because the grant provides cash incentives to conserve woodlands and farmland.”

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission received the grant through the state Department of Transportation, and contracted with the Kestrel Land Trust and The Trustees of Reservations to acquire the development rights. “This large grant provided a unique opportunity to preserve and protect the beautiful historic farm landscapes in Hadley and South Hadley,” said Christopher Curtis, the PVPC’s chief planner.

Parts of the Thayer farm, including a historic home and barn, have been in the family since 1747. Richard Thayer’s father and grandfather raised chickens on the property until the 1950s, providing eggs to local residents and restaurants. More recently the land has been leased to Barstowe_SSRqs Longview Farm, which grows hay and silage corn there, Thayer said.

The land now has an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, which commits it to farm use in perpetuity, he said. The program provides owners of farmland with money in exchange for the promise never to develop it.

The $38,000 Thayer received includes $4,000 from Hadley’s Community Preservation Act funds, the local match required by the terms of the grant, DeBoer said. An appraisal determined that the difference in value between the land with and without an APR was $1,000 an acre, she said.

The Kestrel Land Trust approached the Thayers, who coordinated Hadley’s 350th anniversary celebration, about the land. “They felt there was no protected land in the Hockanum area and wanted to make a start,” Richard Thayer said.

The Thayer land is in the Connecticut River floodplain, which means that it was not suitable for building lots. The preservation measure will protect it from other types of development such as an airport or a golf course, DeBoer said.

Handrich’s 19 wooded acres are adjacent to the state park. The $496,000 he received from the grant was less than the appraised value, and Handrich in effect donated the 20-percent local match, DeBoer said.

The land will be available for passive recreation such as hiking, but the details of public access are still being worked out, she said.

The remainder of the $577,000 was spent on appraisals, loan interest and Kestrel staff time, she said.

Earlier this year, the Kestrel Land Trust sent notices to dozens of landowners along Route 47 in Hadley and South Hadley. Since Thayer and Handrich were willing sellers and had already been thinking about preservation, using the grant money to purchase their land first made sense, DeBoer said.

The Kestrel Trust is in talks with three additional property owners about preserving their acreage, she said.

“We go at the pace of the landowners and we help them if they want to take more time,” DeBoer said.

The land trust will be raising money for its conservation efforts with a 5K run in Hadley on Oct. 21. The run starts at 10 a.m.

On Oct. 25 it will co-sponsor an event honoring retiring U.S. Rep. John Olver, D-Amherst, for his support of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which is 15 years old this month. The 3 p.m. event will take place at 85 Moody Bridge Road in Hadley.

“John Olver can be counted on for advocating for conservation land funding,” DeBoer said. “He’s been an extremely reliable contact through Congress to make sure the Valley has its fair share of conservation funding.”

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.