Mass Audubon and the City of Northampton worked in partnership to add one and a half acres to the conserved land known as the Rocky Hill Greenway and approximately four acres to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (see map below). The Greenway is an active wildlife corridor that has been the focus of protection efforts by the conservation partners for much of the last decade.
The two organizations swapped ownership interests in the transactions. In the case of the Greenway property formerly owned by “Open and Shut, LLC” located on Route 10, the City owns the land and Mass Audubon holds a permanent Conservation Restriction (CR). The reverse is true for the four-acre parcel, formerly land of Ralph Thompson, added to the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Mass Audubon owns the land and the City holds a permanent CR.
A Wildlife Corridor
The Thompson property has been vacant for at least the past 50 years. The owner, a local entrepreneur, considered installing a public storage facility on the site but opted for this sale to Mass Audubon instead. The property is within the identified wildlife corridor. The ravine on the southern side in particular shows evidence of animals crossing from Arcadia to the Rocky Hill Greenway.
The Thompson property is located next to the wetland area of Arcadia, and provides a good vantage point to observe wildlife and also provides access for people to wander along the wetland’s edge in the woods.
Getting More Done
Wayne Feiden, Director of Planning and Sustainability for the City of Northampton, notes that, “Partnering with Mass Audubon allows the City of Northampton to protect much more land than we would be able to on our own. Together we have expanded the conservation land in this area by 120 acres over the past five years alone.”
Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon’s Director of Land Conservation, comments that “while many other states are just beginning to cultivate a public/private ‘conservation community’ working regularly in partnership, it is second nature here in Massachusetts. Each partner has unique skills and capacities that, when combined, give us the ability to do great things. We simply get much more accomplished this way. Our partnership with Wayne and the City of Northampton is a shining example of what a public/private partnership can achieve.”
By Kate Buttolph, Land Protection Specialist