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Groton Conservation Trust Acquires Parcel in West Groton

by Katy Coburn, Groton Conservation Trust
The Groton Conservation Trust is pleased to announce that it has acquired a 49 acre parcel of land in West Groton in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game.
     The property, located on Pepperell Road, is adjacent to the large area of protected land known as the Throne. The parcel has tremendous ecological value and, with the contribution of Mass. Dept. of Fish & Game, will be placed under permanent protection from development with a conservation restriction.
     As with much of the Throne, the property is a mix of pine, hemlock, and hardwood forest and wetlands, offering a rich variety of habitats. It lies within the Sqannassit Area of Critical Environmental Concern and is included within Natural Heritage Maps of Priority Habitats of Rare Species and Estimated Habitats of Rare Wildlife.
     Perhaps most significantly, it establishes a contiguous stretch of uninterrupted habitat with the Throne Hill and Hayes properties owned by the Trust, the Kemp Woods property owned by the Mass. Dept. of Fish & Game, and other protected land in Groton, Pepperell, and Shirley. The property is strongly suspected to harbor protected species, both reptiles and amphibians, and a vernal pool.
     The Trust’s history with this property dates back many years, as the late June Johnson, former trustee of the Trust, expressed interest to the Silvestro-Casner family, which had owned the parcel since 1975.
     In subsequent years, many organizations including the Town of Groton Conservation Commission made concerted efforts to acquire the parcel. After numerous stops and starts, the Trust was ultimately able to step in and facilitate the purchase in partnership with the Commonwealth.
     “This is an exciting acquisition for the Trust because of its location and its establishment of a high value ecological corridor,” said Trust Vice President Mark Gerath. “We are grateful for the hard work of many individuals, including Jeff and Olga Box, and other organizations over multiple years who worked with us to protect this beautiful piece of land.”
     According to Anne Gagnon, Department of Fish & Game Land Agent for the Northeast District of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who worked tirelessly with many parties to shepard this deal “We really appreciate great partners like the Groton Conservation Trust. Without their assistance this land would not be protected. The Groton Conservation Commission also contributed by paying for the appraisal.”
     Now more than ever, the Trust believes that open space conservation has positive, long- term impacts on the economic vitality of the town, local climate impacts, provides wonderful recreational opportunities, and, perhaps most importantly, helps protect the flora and fauna of the unique and rich ecology of Groton.
     Ted Lapres, Groton Conservation Trust president, added “The Trust also believes that it will be increasingly important that conservation organizations, governmental agencies, and interested individuals partner together to help preserve ecologically critical land parcels.”
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