Almost two years ago, Laney Wilder and her husband bought a 19-acre wooded property in Brimfield, MA. When property hunting, they specifically looked for forested land with trails they could walk. They were also interested in finding land they could work to diversify and re-introduce native species.
A woman’s relationship with the natural world is often unique and meaningful. For women who own land, this connection can be rewarding and challenging. Women landowners engage with their woods in various ways, including enjoying the beauty of their property, caring for wildlife and nature, and appreciating the privacy that owning land offers.
North Andover’s Osgood Hill Conservation Area contains over 3 miles of trails that connect to many more miles of trails on other properties, frontage on Lake Cochichewick, and a historic building, the Stevens Estate, which the town owns and uses for events.
In 2006, Tracy Markham and Denise Niemitz fulfilled their dream of living in nature on their own land when they purchased their 40-acre wooded property in Hardwick. When they first bought the property, they didn’t know what was even possible in terms of forest management. As the years went by, Tracy and Denise’s dreams for their property grew and they considered how they could use their land more fully.
Forestry best management practices play a critical role in implementing sound forest management.
In Massachusetts, forestry best management practices also play a critical role in meeting the requirements of the Forest Cutting Practices Act and the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.
In addition, forestry best management practices are also referenced in conservation restrictions to help guide appropriate forest management on conserved land.
If you ever walk through Ben and Susie Feldman’s woods, you may wonder if you really just saw a gnome. You did! Susie strategically places gnomes throughout the woods. Encouraging people to enjoy their woods is a passion for the Feldmans!
For an all-volunteer organization, the Hilltown Land Trust has a substantial list of accomplishments. Founded in 1986 by community members who were concerned about the potential loss of their open space, the trust has acquired 23 (soon to be 25) conservation restrictions, three agricultural preservation restrictions, and it owns six properties, all within the nine westernmost towns of Hampshire County. "We're not one of the big flashy land trusts," says one founding board member, "We're slow but steady."
What can towns do to be sure their community's resources are conserved? Learn from energetic and dedicated municipal officials from across the state, like Norton's Jennifer Carlino. In her post as Conservation Agent, Jennifer has the opportunity to do everything from wetland protection to field studies identifying rare species habitat, vernal pool certification, land protection, and community education.
Every day, landowners are making decisions about how to manage their land and what to do with their land when they pass on. Many landowners are making these decisions without the benefit of knowing all their options. These decisions not only affect the landowners and their family, but are shaping the landscapes within your community.
Keeping land in the family is a common goal for many landowners, but how do you actually pay for the long-term ownership and maintenance costs associated with the land?
The Thompson family has found a solution that works for them and their family retreat on 45 acres of woodlands in Leverett. Now owned by the fourth generation, the property is the site of the family’s 4th of July reunion, annual work parties, and lots of family vacations.