Hilltown Digest: Landowners help protect 56 acres in Williamsburg with donation

  • The Plainfield Fire Department’s new utility terrain vehicle. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2021 10:52:31 AM

WILLIAMSBURG – The Hilltown Land Trust has preserved a popular local trail, thanks to a conservation restriction donation.

The donation from landowner Sandra Warren and her late husband, Jim Locke, puts 56 acres of wildlife habitat off South Street in Williamsburg under a permanent conservation restriction.

“It was something that they both really wanted to do,” said Hilltown Land Trust Executive Director Sally Loomis.

The land contains the popular Locke’s Loop Trail, which Loomis said has been in use for 15 to 20 years. The conservation restriction keeps ownership of the land in the hands of Warren, but prevents it from being developed no matter who owns it and makes permanent the public’s access to the trail.

“Forever the public will have the ability to walk on the Locke’s Loop Trail,” Loomis said.

Loomis said that the restriction “expands a block of protected land,” as it abuts the Petticoat Hill Reservation and comes close to connecting the reservation to further protected lands to the south. She also said that part of the land has been designated priority habitat for rare and endangered species.

“This was such an obvious project to say yes to,” Loomis said.

New vehicle for Plainfield Fire Department

The Plainfield Fire Department has purchased a new vehicle entirely with donations collected by the Plainfield Volunteer Firefighter’s Association.

“This is a vehicle that obviously we desperately needed,” said Fire Chief Dave Alvord.

The 2021 Kawasaki Mule PRO-DX 4x4 utility terrain vehicle cost approximately $20,000 and, according to the department, was the largest purchase made from its annual fund drive appeal to date. The Plainfield Volunteer Firefighter’s Association is the department’s fundraising arm.

The new utility terrain vehicle is replacing a vehicle that was given to the department as government surplus in 2011.

“It was already old when we got it,” Alvord said.

He said that the vehicle is necessary to help access Plainfield’s extensive open land, including the DuBuque Memorial State Forest and National Audubon Society lands. Additionally, Alvord said that the department is looking to purchase tracks for the vehicle later in the year to use it in winter. Alvord said that the tracks will cost approximately $5,500, and that he hopes that the department can raise the money for it.

Last year the Plainfield Volunteer Firefighter’s Association had to cancel its annual barbecue fundraiser due to COVID-19, which would have been its 50th consecutive barbecue. Alvord said a decision has not yet been reached on this year’s fundraiser, but if it is held it will be on Labor Day weekend.

No contested races in Williamsburg election

There are no contested races in Williamsburg’s May 3 town election.

The election will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Williamsburg Town Offices at 141 Main St. in Haydenville. Voters also can vote by mail.

Candidates are seeking elected office for the following positions: moderator, Select Board, Board of Assessors, Board of Health, library trustees, Finance Committee, School Committee seat, Recreation Committee, regional School Committee, Trust Fund/Cemetery Commission, elector of the Oliver Smith Will and the Water/Sewer Commission.

Peg Brodrick Memorial Scholarship

Applications are now available for the Peg Brodrick Memorial Scholarship for anyone who plans to further their education in a health-related field.

The scholarship was established in honor of Peg Brodrick, a longtime nurse at the Worthington Health Center. It is open to anyone who lives in the Gateway School District or a hilltown served by the Worthington or Huntington health centers.

Applications are available at the guidance offices at Gateway Regional Hish School, Waconah Regional High School, Hampshire Regional High School, and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, and at the Worthington and Huntington health centers. Applications must be postmarked by May 21 and mailed to 14 Harvey Road, Worthington, MA 01098. Contributions to the scholarship fund are accepted throughout the year and can be mailed to the same address.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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