Nicewicz and Schartner Farms Protected (MA)

March 21, 2006

Bolton, Massachusetts, 3/21/06: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that the Town of Bolton and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have jointly protected approximately 170 acres of prized Bolton farmland owned by the Nicewicz and Schartner families. Working in partnership with the Bolton Conservation Trust (BCT), TPL negotiated agreements to purchase Agricultural Preservation Restrictions (APRs) over both properties early in 2004, and has since been working with the Town, the State, and BCT to assemble the $3.8 million needed to complete the purchase.

"The scenic Schartner and Nicewicz farms are an integral part of one of Bolton's largest undisturbed agricultural landscapes, and protecting the farms is an important step toward the Town's goal of preserving Bolton's agricultural resources and apple-growing heritage," said Selectman Ken Troup. "The Town appreciates the contributions for this important effort from both state and private sources."

Funding for the project came from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, which contributed $1.73 million from its APR program; the Town of Bolton, which approved a $1.69 million contribution in May 2004; a private fundraising campaign led by the Bolton Conservation Trust, which raised more than $150,000; and through the sale of a single house lot created on the edge of the Schartner farm. Through the APRs, the Town and State will prevent any future development on the farms, ensuring that farming will continue in perpetuity.

According to Michele Padula, Regional Planner for the APR program, the state was particularly attracted to the project because of the unusual opportunity to protect two contiguous farms, the valuable soils, and the diversity of crops, which include berries, tree fruits, pumpkins and other vegetables, and hay.

In addition, the Nicewicz and Schartner families both provided trail easements that connect to adjacent conservation land. Once the trails are created, they will be open to the public for walking.

According to Tom Parker, President of the Bolton Conservation Trust, "The closing of these APRs is the culmination of more than five years of effort. The Trust made a strategic decision to ask TPL to assist with this conservation effort because of its know-how and ability to marshal the required resources. The project would never have succeeded without TPL's assistance. We are very pleased to see two of the largest remaining farms in Bolton receive permanent protection."

TPL joined negotiations to purchase the property in January 2001, at the request of BCT. Nellie Aikenhead, Senior Project Consultant for TPL, said "We appreciate that we could play a role in this project, which would not have succeeded without the persistence and dedication of everyone involved. We would like to extend a personal thank you to the landowners, who waited patiently for years. We are particularly grateful to Bob Schartner, whose love of the land led him to decline payment for his interest in Schartner farm, thereby generously providing the citizens of Bolton with a gift that will last forever."

The Bolton Conservation Trust is a private non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the rural heritage and natural assets of Bolton, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.boltonconservationtrust.org.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped to protect more than 2.0 million acres nationwide, including nearly 10,000 acres in Massachusetts. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information, visit www.tpl.org.