The Franklin Land Trust Receives Gift Of 151 Acres in Ashfield



The Franklin Land Trust is delighted to announce that it has received a generous gift on the part of the Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc., of 151 acres on Spruce Corner Road in Ashfield.

In 2001, the Franklin Land Trust led a grassroots effort to prevent this quiet piece of land, owned for generations by the Howes family, from being turned into house lots.

Many generous local donors came forward, and their enthusiasm and display of broad public support inspired the Department of Environmental Management and the private Norcross Wildlife Foundation to join the campaign. With the help of donors, DEM purchased a Conservation Restriction, and the Norcross Wildlife Foundation took on ownership of the property.

As of November 10th, 2022, ownership of the land has been transferred into the hands of the Franklin Land Trust, who will carefully steward it, ensuring that it remains a natural and scenic area for generations to come. Franklin Land Trust will be engaged in a planning process for land and resource management, habitat opportunities and public access. The Land Trust hopes to host a celebration on the land next year.

The property consists largely of forest and floodplain and holds significant conservation value due to its 30 acres of sugar bush, vital to the operation of a local maple syrup producer, as well as its reputation as a prime location for hiking, wildlife viewing, and passive recreation. The Swift River runs through the parcel, which is situated on the border of a large undeveloped area home to many types of wildlife including moose and bobcat.

“We are so grateful for this generous gift and for the role the Norcross Wildlife Foundation played in ensuring that this land was protected back in 2001, ” says Mary Lynn Sabourin, Executive Director of the Franklin Land Trust. “This land is truly special, and we are committed to protecting it for the enjoyment of the community and for the benefit of the many species that call it home.”

The Franklin Land Trust is dedicated to the conservation of open space and natural resources in Franklin County and surrounding communities. We aim to preserve the region’s rural character and provide opportunities for public enjoyment of the outdoors. To date the Franklin Land Trust has protected over 35,000 acres of farmland, woodland, wetland, and important natural habitat.