Northfield Forest

Northfield Forest, MassachusettsPhoto credit: Glenn Minshall

After Northfield Mount Hermon School closed its Northfield campus, the school’s scenic forest property—made up of woodlands, trails, and reservoir—was at imminent risk of being sold and subdivided.

But in June 2016, any threat to the property was successfully thwarted when The Trust for Public Land and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) celebrated the complete and permanent protection of nearly 1,300 acres of land within the forest—a hard-fought victory that helped secure one of the largest unprotected parcels of land in the Commonwealth.

Owned for more than a century by the Northfield Mount Hermon School, the newly protected property is part of a 1,600-acre forest that forms the picturesque backdrop of the small New England town. The remaining 300 acres of unprotected land, which surrounds the Grandin Reservoir and provides drinking water for 300 households, will be secured in subsequent phases to complete the forest’s protection.

With its purchase from the school, the land will be immediately added to the Northfield State Forest and managed by DCR to ensure public recreational access. Protection will secure important wildlife habitat, miles of public hiking and biking trails, and buffer 25,000 acres of adjoining conservation land.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.