Rose Family Conservation Project

Rose Family Photo

In the 1920s, Chris and Jeff Rose’s great-grandparents Ed and Maude Bellows purchased the family land in Buckland and although both men grew up in Deerfield they spent summers and weekends on the family farm and eventually raised their families in Buckland. The land is situated along Hog Hollow and East Buckland Road. Chris Rose and his wife Sharon conserved 150 acres along the top and western slope of Johnson Hill; the land can be seen from Route 112 near the Atherton Farm and the Buckland Historical Society Wilder Homestead, which abuts the Rose land. The Roses manage their forest primarily for wildlife with the benefit of firewood. Jeff and Andrea Rose maintain a homestead farm on 71 conserved acres that sit below Chris’s property along East Buckland Road. This parcel is bisected by Clark Brook, a major tributary to Clesson Brook. Michelle Rose lives across East Buckland Road on 25 acres of conserved forestland that abuts the Buell Conservation Restriction held by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Chris Rose approached the Franklin Land Trust in 2009 with hopes of conserving family land for future generations. Realizing that this hilltown property is within the Route 112 Scenic Byway corridor view shed, FLT submitted the project for funding. Conservation restrictions purchased with Scenic Byway funds must be held by either a public agency or municipality, so DCR agreed to partner with FLT, hold the restrictions, and commit to partial funding to complete the projects.

Jeff Rose “Working with the Franklin Land Trust was the only thing that brought this project together.”

The Rose Family Conservation Project is an example of land protection that linked a dedicated family with strong ties to the land and committed conservation partners including the Franklin Land Trust (FLT), The Conservation Fund (TCF), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the federal Scenic Byway Program administered by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG).

The three Rose conservation restrictions totaling 250 acres were purchased with funds from the Scenic Byway program and Department of Conservation and Recreation. The landowners all agreed to bargain sales, meaning they accepted less money for the CR than the appraisal value. The Franklin Land Trust secured two short term loans from the Conservation Fund,, to pre-acquire the CRs on Michelle’s and Jeff and Andrea’s CRs since the Scenic Byway program is a reimbursement program.

This project was a high priority for FLT since significant portions of Rose family land contain Biomap2 Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape as defined by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program, and the acreage abuts already protected land. Although the CRs are held by DCR, the Franklin Land Trust stewardship staff will be responsible for annual monitoring visits.