Agreement Reached on Robbins Mill Pond Land (MA)

Acton, Massachusetts: The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced today that it has negotiated an agreement to purchase 234 acres of land abutting Robbins Mill Pond off Carlisle Road. Under the agreement, the Liberty Realty Trust and the Drake Trust have provided the Trust for Public Land with a nine-month exclusive option to purchase the land for $7.8 million.

Whitney Hatch, regional director for the Trust for Public Land, explains,”The Acton Conservation Trust asked us to help protect the Robbins Mill Pond property last fall. We have been negotiating with the landowners since then, and are very pleased to announce this agreement. Project supporters now have nine months to secure the funds needed to protect this land permanently.”

The coalition of nonprofit organizations supporting the project includes the Acton Conservation Trust, the Sudbury Valley Trustees, the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, and the Trust for Public Land. The Robbins Mill Pond property is a high priority for protection because it’s strategically located next to 400 acres of protected open space at the Town’s Spring Hill and Nashoba Brook conservation areas. As a result, it was identified as the top acquisition priority in the 1996 Acton Open Space and Recreation Plan. If not conserved, the property will likely be developed as a residential subdivision. Under current zoning, it could support as many as 124 new residences.

According to Susan Mitchell-Hardt, co-president of the Acton Conservation Trust, “This land is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including great horned owls, screech owls, pileated woodpeckers, goshawks, white tailed deer, muskrats, river otters, red fox, fishers, and several types of turtles and salamanders. It was recently described by one of our members as ‘worth its weight in animals’! We are delighted to be partnering with the Town and Trust for Public Land to preserve this very special property.”

Stephen Johnson, executive director of the Sudbury Valley Trustees, commented, “We are very pleased to lend our support to this regionally important land protection effort. This property contains very significant wildlife habitat, and its development would also have a serious impact on the wildlife habitat of the adjacent conservation lands.”

Arthur Milliken, president of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, added, “The Robbins Mill Pond conservation effort complements CCF’s land protection efforts in the western portion of Carlisle. We applaud our colleagues in the Acton Conservation Trust for taking such a bold stand in their efforts to protect Acton’s unique landscapes and habitats”.

Over the next few weeks, project supporters will begin work on a Town Meeting campaign while also launching a $1 million private fundraising campaign. Acton Town Meeting members will likely be asked to allocate $6.8 million dollars in town funds to purchase the property. In addition, the coalition will be urging town officials to apply for a state grant that could reimburse up to $500,000 of the municipal acquisition costs.

The Acton Conservation Trust is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Acton’s open space through land acquisitions, conservation restrictions, and public policy changes.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization that was founded in 1972 to protect land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. TPL began working in Massachusetts in 1985, and since then we have protected nearly 4,000 acres across the state. Our projects range from forests and farms to playgrounds and community gardens in urban areas.