In February 2020, the Town of Sharon and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), with the financial support and encouragement of Mass Audubon, protected the iconic 330-acre Rattlesnake Hill property — an exciting, rewarding conclusion to a decades-long conservation effort.
For Mass Audubon, the successful protection of Rattlesnake Hill by DCR and the Town is part one of a larger conservation outcome.
The Next Step
Mass Audubon is now working with the Town of Sharon to put permanent protections on 220 acres of abutting Town lands known locally as “Inter Lochen Park”. Portions of that land have never received full legal protection and remain vulnerable over the long-term.
To remedy that, the Inter Lochen lands will be permanently protected by a Conservation Restriction (CR) that will be acquired and held by Mass Audubon. This will ensure the perpetual protection of these 220 acres in a similar way to Rattlesnake Hill, where the Town acquired it for conservation and DCR holds the permanent CR.
Both properties exist within an impressive block of more than 2,000 acres of connected protected land. The land is adjacent to Borderland State Park (fun fact: large portions of the movie “Knives Out” were filmed at the mansion on Borderland State Park) and just a short distance from Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.
A Unique and Diverse Landscape
If you have the chance to visit Rattlesnake Hill and Inter Lochen Park, it won’t take you long to realize that it’s a pretty special place, particularly given its location in relatively densely populated eastern Massachusetts. Beautiful forests, exquisite savannahs, rocky ledges, all intermingle with scattered vernal pools (seven in total) throughout the landscape. The land is home to a startling array of plants and animals — some of which are rare or endangered.
And in case you’re wondering, no, rattlesnakes have not been seen on the property for quite some time; although, it would make excellent habitat for them – making it easy to understand where the name came from.
Did I mention the boulders? The land has a wonderful array of massive granite boulders, known to the geologically inclined as “glacial erratics” because they “hitched a ride” and were deposited by receding glaciers.
It is tremendous fun to traipse around this property. Soon, trails will be officially opened to the top of Rattlesnake Hill which offers lovely views.
For such a special place, it is all the more important to make sure that every square inch of it is protected forever. We hope to share news of the permanent protection of part two—Inter Lochen Park—soon.
-Nick Rossi, Land Protection Specialist