265 Acre Pepperell Springs Purchased (MA)

Pepperell, Massachusetts, 1/4/05 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, and DS Waters of America LP announced today that the sale of the 265-acre Pepperell Springs property to TPL has been completed. TPL assumed ownership of the property on December 29, 2004, and plans to convey it to the Town of Pepperell within the next six months.

TPL expects to eventually transfer the property to the Town of Pepperell for permanent protection. The property has been a longtime focus for conservation by the Nashoba Conservation Trust (NCT), the Town of Pepperell, and the Nashua River Watershed Association. Key to the conservation success, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation supported the effort and secured significant federal funding for the project.

“We thank DS Waters for recognizing that this property was worthy of permanent protection and for working earnestly over the past several weeks to make this day a reality. We are thrilled that we have protected this magnificent property,” said Badge Blackett, Senior Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “We are grateful to the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, the Pepperell Springs Coalition, the Town of Pepperell, and all of our partners for helping to bring this together.”

“DS Waters is proud to have a role in the conservation of the 265-acre Pepperell Springs property,” said Dan Redfern, Chief Financial Officer of DS Waters. “We are delighted that the land will be protected, and available for the future enjoyment of the citizens of Pepperell and other neighboring communities.”

In 2003, Congress, under the leadership of U.S. Representative John Olver, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, appropriated $1.383 million in federal funds through the USDA Forest Legacy Program for the acquisition of Pepperell Springs. Pepperell Town Meeting voted unanimously on September 20, 2004 to acquire the property and authorized funding for the town’s $1.5 million share of the purchase price. TPL and the Pepperell Springs Coalition worked together to raise the remaining $317,000 needed for the project through individual and foundation funds.

Under the terms of a purchase and sale agreement signed on December 20 between the Town of Pepperell and TPL, TPL will acquire and own the property until the Forest Legacy funds are released, likely within the next six months. Once those funds become available, TPL will transfer title to the Town, subject to Conservation Restrictions prohibiting development and maintaining public access to the site. According to Blackett, “When the Town acquires this land they will be taking ownership of a site that has been well cared for by DS Waters and its predecessors. The fact that the property was in such pristine condition helped make it possible to bring the necessary conservation resources to bear.”

Added Barbara Ganem, a leader of the Pepperell Springs Coalition, “We’re very grateful to all the generous individuals and organizations whose contributions made this possible. Paula Terrasi, Russ Schott, and the Blood Family are among many who were instrumental in this effort. We’re proud to have played a part in making this exceptional area a public resource we know will be treasured by many generations.”

?Representative John Olver said, “We’ve taken advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve the integrity of significant, unspoiled land in the Town of Pepperell. This scenic property, which was once under imminent threat of being developed, will now be preserved for generations to come. Protecting this area will also benefit the numerous species of plants and animals that live here and maintain its scenic beauty. I congratulate all parties involved, especially the Trust for Public Land and the Town of Pepperell, who have worked tenaciously to bring this project to fruition. I was pleased to have brought a significant partner to the table through the Forest Legacy Program.”

“Protecting Pepperell Springs means protecting our drinking water, protecting wildlife, and protecting a beautiful place for future generations to enjoy,” said Senator John Kerry. “I am very pleased that the protection of Pepperell Springs is now a reality, for the people of Pepperell and all of Massachusetts.”

“This protection is a welcome victory for conservation and a special tribute to the hard work and good faith efforts of the many persons who cared so much about this unique property in Pepperell,” Senator Edward Kennedy said. “It means that this beautiful local natural habitat will be carefully preserved for the enduring benefit of future generations.”

Pepperell Springs is one of the largest remaining unprotected forested tracts in the Nissitissit watershed. The tract is connected to a 3,000-acre forested corridor that includes the Gulf Brook Conservation Area to the north and the conservation land that surrounds a majority of Heald Pond to the south. As a critical link in a corridor that has been the focus of conservation efforts for many years, the property is the town’s highest conservation priority.

The property is bisected by Gulf Brook, a tributary of the Nissitissit River, with both the Brook and the River being designated as Outstanding Resource Waters by the Commonwealth and protected by The Squannacook/Nissitissit Rivers Sanctuary Act. The spring was first commercially developed as the Pepperell Spring Water Company in 1893. At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, the company won the silver medal for “best tasting” mineral water, which was bottled from the spring on the property.

The Pepperell Springs Coalition consists of the Nashoba Conservation Trust, the Nashua River Watershed Association, the Nissitissit River Land Trust (NRLT), and the Town of Pepperell. The coalition was formed in December 2001 when local citizens decided to conserve this important property.

Robert Hanson, Pepperell Town Administrator, said he was delighted that the project was nearing completion. “TPL, the Town, and so many individuals and organizations have put an incredible effort into making this project work. It is a landmark achievement for Pepperell,” he said. “The Town is much the richer for their work in protecting this treasure.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 10,000 acres in Massachusetts. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact TPL’s Boston office at (617) 367-6200 or visit www.tpl.org/massachusetts.

DS Waters of America, LP produces and distributes bottled water products throughout the United States. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, DS Waters is the U.S. leader in home and office water delivery. The Company’s bottled water portfolio includes leading regional brands Alhambra, Belmont Springs, Crystal Springs, Hinckley Springs, Kentwood Springs, Sierra Springs and Sparkletts. Note to editors: To have a digital photo or map emailed to you, contact Kim Gilman at the Trust for Public Land, (617) 367-6200 x326 or kim.gilman@tpl.