The Trustees of Reservations Preserves 512 Acres of Forest in Mt. Washington, MA

The Trustees of Reservations Preserves 512 Acres of Forest in Mt. Washington, MA

Contact Information
Lee Alexander
Community Conservation Specialist
413.298.3239 x 3015
Media Inquiries
Kristi Perry
Public Relations Manager

Mt. Washington, MA --The Trustees of Reservations today announced that 512 acres of forested uplands in Mt. Washington have been preserved forever. Lucile Van Deusen of Mt. Washington, and her recently deceased sister, Doris Southergill of Great Barrington, generously donated a conservation restriction on their family?s land to The Trustees, the nation?s oldest statewide land trust and non-profit conservation organization. Under the terms of the restriction, the family retains ownership of the property, but certain activities, such as development and subdivision, are completely prohibited. Other activities, such as farming and agriculture, are allowed.

The Spurr family settled the land over 200 years ago as part of a larger farm that later supported the famous summer boarding house on East Street, The Pennyroyal Arms. The protected property includes Yager Pond and Mount Undine, and contributes to a vast area of contiguous, maturing forests including the adjacent Jug End and Mt. Everett State Reservations.

?It was very important to my Aunt Dory that this land be protected in her lifetime,? said Morgan Bulkeley IV, nephew of Southergill and Van Deusen. Bulkeley, a well-known sculptor and painter, was instrumental in helping his aunts fulfill their wish to preserve the land. Bulkeley also remarked that his parents, both naturalists, carefully nurtured injured and wild animals on the farm.

?We are so pleased that this beautiful land that has been in our family for generations will be protected from development? said Ms. Van Deusen. ?We just want it to stay the way it is ? the way it?s always been.? It was Van Deusen?s great-grandfather, Isaac Spurr, who expanded the original farmhouse in the 1860s to create a boarding house. Summer boarders from New York City provided additional income for farmers in Mt. Washington. Ms. Van Deusen remembers her mother and aunt keeping boarders well fed from the produce of the farm.

?The Trustees of Reservations were delighted to help Ms. Van Deusen and Mrs. Southergill preserve their family?s land for the community and for future generations,? added Steve McMahon, Berkshires Regional Director. The land is part of a larger, sparsely developed landscape in the southwest Berkshires that provides habitat for migrating birds, over-wintering bats and other wildlife, as well as rare and endangered species including amphibians, reptiles, moths, and plants. The protected property also falls within the drainage basin of Karner Brook, a designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Lee Alexander, Community Conservation Specialist for The Trustees, noted that this was one of three land conservation projects The Trustees completed in the Berkshires in 2007. As development continues to threaten many of the historically, culturally, and ecologically significant landscapes in the western part of Massachusetts, conservation of open space continues to be a priority for The Trustees of Reservations. Each of the three recent conservation restrictions has been tailored to each specific property and the interests of its owner. Edwin Watroba, whose family has farmed land in the southwestern portion of Pittsfield for more than 100 years, donated a conservation restriction on his 114-acre farm that will strictly limit development, while assuring that the land continues to be farmed. In New Marlborough, Edward Goodnow protected his 312 acres of rolling woodlands and open fields. ?We are excited to work more closely with landowners and local partners in the coming year, so that together we can safeguard more of what gives the Berkshires its exceptional beauty and quality of life,? shared Alexander.

About the Trustees? Ms.ion & Strategic Plan
Since its founding in 1891 by Charles Eliot, an open space visionary and prot?g? of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, The Trustees? Mission has been to preserve, protect and care for properties of exceptional scenic, historic, recreational, and ecological value in Massachusetts. While our Mission remains the same, the way the organization plans to accomplish it has changed as the world has changed.

As land is being developed and open space is being fragmented at a rapid pace around the state, The Trustees are working to mobilize and inspire a critical mass of people and partners who care about quality of life in their communities and will work to protect them. The Trustees are undertaking an ambitious education and outreach effort to help more people understand how everyone can be ?a Trustee? of the planet and make a lasting impact.

?By 2017, we hope to double our members and volunteers to help make this vision a reality,? says Andrew Kendall, President of The Trustees. ?Imagine what a difference it would make if every town was able to protect a special park, farm or plot of land from being developed or save a historic homestead or building. Through our work and membership outreach, we hope to open even more people?s eyes to what they can do, starting in their own communities.?

About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you, from every corner of Massachusetts, who share a deep set of similar values: a love of the land, of the outdoors and of the distinctive charms of New England, as well as a shared vision of celebrating and protecting them for everyone, forever.

With 99 reservations, comprising nearly 25,000 acres?all of which are open to the public?The Trustees of Reservations? properties are tremendously diverse. From mountains and hilltops, to working farms, stately homes and gardens, 70 miles of stunning coastline and five National Historic landmarks, Trustees properties offer something for everyone. In addition, The Trustees are now affiliated with Boston Natural Areas Network, Boston?s premier advocate for open space, community gardens, and urban wilds throughout the city.

The Trustees employ 180 full-time and 350-400 seasonal staff with expertise in many areas, including ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. The Trustees? Berkshires Regional Office is based in Stockbridge, MA. To find out how you can interview Trustees? experts on important topics and issues, volunteer or become a member, please call The Trustees of Reservations at 781.784.0567, visit at, or email