Westfield landowners Bob and Karen Baker worked with Franklin Land Trust and the Town of Westfield to conserve 42 acres of land on Montgomery Road. In 2004 the Bakers sold a 27-acre Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) to Winding River Land Conservancy — now retired, they wanted to conserve the adjacent wetlands and hayfields not included in the original APR. This new and adjacent conservation restriction brings the Baker’s total conserved lands to 69 acres, located in the heart of historic Wyben, a village of Westfield known for its scenic and pastoral views. This parcel creates a key connection to the Town of Westfield’s Sampson Conservation Area.
This newly conserved land is an important part of a much larger land conservation puzzle in the region. It is within two miles of over 550 acres of farmland conserved through the Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, and just three miles from 2,300 acres of watershed land in Montgomery and Westfield owned by the Town of Westfield Water Department. Adjacent to the town-owned land is the 1,383-acre Tekoa Mountain Wildlife Management Area, owned and managed by the MA Department of Fish and Wildlife. Large unfragmented blocks of conservation land is critically important for wildlife and water protection.
Bob and his wife Karen manage the land for agriculture and forestry. They currently rent pasture to a neighboring farmer for cattle, along with maintaining a large vegetable plot. The conservation restriction is co-held by the Town of Westfield and Franklin Land Trust. Funding for this project was provided by the Town of Westfield CPA funds.