TPL Working to Protect Echodale Farm (MA)
Easthampton, MA, 5/9/2006 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that it has officially acquired the 165-acre Echodale Farm property on Park Hill Road in Easthampton from B&R Family Associates, LLC for $2.85 million. TPL plans to hold the property on a temporary basis while it works with the Pascommuck Conservation Trust (PCT) and the City of Easthampton to assemble public and private funds for the permanent protection of the property.
Clem Clay, Director of TPL’s Connecticut River Program said, “We’re excited about taking this big step forward in the conservation effort, although this is the perhaps the midway point and not the end.”
Continued Clay, “This project matches up perfectly with two of our top priorities – helping to keep farming viable in the region, and helping Connecticut River communities maintain their quality of life in the face of growth. We’re thrilled to be able to support our partners to achieve these goals.”
Echodale Farm is the largest unprotected working farm in Easthampton. The protection of the property will create a corridor of more than 550 acres of protected land in the area, including a significant wildlife habitat corridor along Bassett Brook. Stream corridors within this habitat area provide habitat for several threatened and endangered animals, insects and plants. Fields and forests on the property support grassland and migratory birds.
In addition to the benefits of habitat protection and the preservation of valuable farmland, the conservation effort will maintain the potential for recreational trails that could connect Easthampton with Northampton. The protection of Echodale Farm is a critical next step in the ongoing effort to protect the historic agricultural landscape of Park Hill.
Marty Klein of PCT said, “The effort to protect Echodale Farm is a unique opportunity for the citizens of Easthampton and the region to work together to save a magnificent ecological and agricultural landscape.”
Mayor Michael Tautznik said, “Easthampton has been working for many years to protect the environmental and agricultural values of our community and the Park Hill area in particular. The preservation and enhancement of Echodale Farm adds significantly to the adjacent lands already protected under the state’s APR Program. The Trust for Public Land has been a valuable partner in our efforts; lending capacity, focus and expertise to this significant acquisition effort by working directly with our local land trust and the city. Without assistance from TPL this property, and the values it represents to our community, would have been lost to upscale condominium development. We could not have undertaken this effort without their help.”
The City of Easthampton has approved the expenditure of up to $650,000 in Community Preservation Act funds toward the purchase. TPL and the city will apply for funding from the state Agricultural Preservation Restriction and Self-Help Programs. Nearly half of the $2.85 million purchase price is expected to come from private sources, including donations from individuals, grants from foundations and proceeds from the sale of the farm once it is permanently protected as agricultural land. TPL and PCT will be working with local residents, businesses and foundations to raise private funds needed to insure the property’s permanent protection.
PCT will be hosting a nature walk on the property on Saturday, May 20th, led by ecologist Tom Lautzenheiser and naturalist Marty Klein. Anyone interested in this walk should contact Marty Klein at 413-529-9594 to sign up.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) 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 two 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
The Pascommuck Conservation Trust (PCT) is a non-profit, charitable organization, formed in 1982, which protects important land and other natural resources in Easthampton for the public benefit. Currently, PCT controls 16 properties in Easthampton, comprising approximately 190 acres. PCT has no paid staff and therefore relies upon volunteers to carry out its mission. A 14-member Board of Directors guides PCT’s efforts. With a 24-year history of land protection efforts in Easthampton, PCT preserves the community’s treasured natural heritage and protects the quality of its future through land conservation, land stewardship, environmental education, and community parks. For more information visit www.pctland.org
To receive maps or photos by e-mail, please contact Nick Pratt at TPL at 617-367-6200, ext. 314 or firstname.lastname@example.org