105 Acres Protected in Princeton (MA)

PRINCETON, Massachusetts, 6/19/02: After nearly a year of effort, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies announced today the permanent protection of 105 acres on East Princeton Road/Route 31. The Metropolitan District Commission acquired 88 acres, which includes significant frontage on East Wachusett Brook, an important tributary of the Wachusett Reservoir. An adjacent 17-acre parcel, which includes the old Ikalainen gravel pit, was purchased by the Town of Princeton and is slated for conversion into recreation fields. The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, and the Princeton Land Trust, a town-wide land trust, assisted with the acquisitions.

“On behalf of the people of Princeton,” said Delores Lyons, chair of the Princeton Board of Selectmen, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who made this acquisition possible. Not only has this project provided permanent protection from development, but we have also created 17 acres of playing fields, a recreational area that is much needed by the Princeton children of today and tomorrow.”

The town has also received a generous pledge of $125,000 from David and Barbara Krashes to help cover the cost of field construction.

“This is another example of public/private partnerships acquiring lands to serve multiple beneficial purposes,” stated Metropolitan District Commission commissioner David B. Balfour. “This protects important water supply and continues to expand public recreation to suburban communities throughout the Commonwealth.”

“This project is a testament to the power of teamwork,” said the Trust for Public Land’s state director Craig MacDonnell. “Together the coalition achieved two previously elusive land conservation objectives – helping protect one of the state’s most important drinking water supplies and beginning the process of transforming degraded land into new athletic fields.”

“The acquisition of this unique property accomplishes one of our major objectives,” said Princeton Land Trust president Paul Schlaikjer. “Through the creation of open space adjacent to 55 acres of woodland and fields already owned and protected by the Land Trust, we are closer to our goal of preserving Princeton’s landscape as we know it today.”

Last fall, at the request of the Princeton Board of Selectmen, the Trust for Public Land began negotiating with Paxton Hills, Inc. to conserve the property. An agreement to purchase the 105-acre property for $820,000 was reached in early spring. The Metropolitan District Commission acquired the majority of the land for $750,000. The Town of Princeton voted in April at Special Town Meeting to purchase the remaining 17 acres for $70,000. This portion of the property is permanently protected from development by a conservation restriction held by the Commission, but is available for recreational uses such as playing fields and related structures and improvements.

The Wachusett Reservoir, which lies on the South Branch of the Nashua River, supplies drinking water to the Boston area. Although it obtains most of its inflow from the Quabbin Reservoir, it also receives roughly 30 percent of its annual inflow from tributaries like East Wachusett Brook. This property lies across the street from land already owned by the Metropolitan District Commission, which owns and manages nearly 30 percent of the Reservoir’s watershed.

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 100,000 acres in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, visit www.tpl.org

The Princeton Land Trust is a privately operated nonprofit land trust. It is dedicated to preserving, free from development, parcels of land (forests, farmland, scenic land, special wildlife habitat) and water bodies that contribute to the beauty and the rural atmosphere of Princeton. Since it was formed in 1990, the Trust has protected more than 165 acres, including the triangle of land located at historic Russell Corner, which once formed the Town Common.