When our neighbor was approached by a realtor about developing a 12-acre parcel of open land into six building lots, she promptly sent him packing. She was worried, however, about how to make sure the land would be safe, and decided to entrust it to us, thinking we would keep it as a hay field for our horses.
We soon found that maintaining a hayfield isn’t as easy as it sounds. The property is in a highly visible location (on Route 112 in Buckland, across from Mohawk Trail Regional School) and several times I’ve had folks stop and ask when we’re going to get around to cutting! But we’ve managed to keep it mowed by a local farmer, and it still looks pretty much as it did in 1994, when it came into our care.
People in the community also started asking if we would consider putting the land under protection. In 2002 we looked into it, and Franklin Land Trust was the obvious choice. We wanted to work with a local conservation group that was doing good work in the community and understood the financial constraints we were under—and they did.
FLT guided us through the steps for putting the land under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, and we decided to donate the APR to FLT. Mark Zenick, the FLT Director at that time, used our donation of the APR as an occasion for a fundraiser, not only to cover the legal costs, but as a chance to raise additional funds for FLT. He got the community involved, even students from Mohawk, and FLT was able to raise $10,000 in all.
We are grateful to FLT for helping us keep our promise to our friend and neighbor, and keep that field from being divided into house lots. Everyone can take pleasure in the beauty of the land, even just driving by on 112 it’s there to enjoy, and the kids at Mohawk use it for school sports, class pictures, and class projects. It’s a special part of the landscape in Buckland and I’m happy to know it’s protected forever.
– Polly Bartlett Buckland