Ashfield and Conway, MA – The Trustees of Reservations announced today that the organization has received a generous gift of 262 acres of land, located on the border of both Ashfield and Conway, from the William C. Bullitt Foundation. Fulfilling the conservation vision of its former owner, Anne Bullitt, the Foundation donated the property to The Trustees, who will care for and maintain the property, forever preserving it from development and establishing it as a new reservation to be enjoyed by the public.
The 262-acre parcel being donated to The Trustees was part of the 365-acre former estate of Ambassador William C. Bullitt, and his daughter, Anne Bullitt. William C. Bullitt (1891–1967) was an American diplomat, journalist, and novelist, and is best known for his role as the first U. S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and his service as the Ambassador to France, which began in 1936. Abundant with a mix of forests, fields and streams, which provide natural habitat for numerous wildlife and a diversity of species, the property was enjoyed as a summer home by the Bullitt family for many years. It was the wish of Anne Bullitt that the Bullitt property be conserved and the legacy of her father be carried on at the site for the community and future generations to enjoy. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of the Bullitt Foundation, 103 acres of the former estate had previously been preserved through a conservation restriction donated to The Trustees of Reservations in 2008.
“We are looking forward to sharing the wonders of this historic and ecologically important property with the community,” says Jocelyn Forbush, Pioneer Valley Regional Director. “As we’ve talked with friends and neighbors in the area, we have come upon a great wealth of stories about the property, including remembrances of the Bullitt family and tales about the site’s agricultural history, which include serving as the town poor farm until 1874. Its diversity and beauty are magical.”
According to The Trustees ecologist, Julie Richburg, the protection of the Bullitt property adds to the significance of an already large conservation landscape. “The 262-acre property abuts a corridor of almost 3,000 acres of protected land that provides contiguous habitat for wildlife and rare species, protection of waterways such as Poland Brook, and great opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy this beautiful, pristine landscape,” says Richburg. “The properties that make up this network of protected land include the Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area, the Conway State Forest, and The Trustees? Chapel Brook Reservation.”
Completing an important missing piece in a large puzzle of connected land, the Bullit Foundation’s donation will allow The Trustees to fulfill the family’s conservation vision for the property, with plans to open the property to the public in early 2010. Once open, The Trustees anticipate creating a series of trails that link into existing trail networks, renovating the two historic barns on-site, and providing fun, educational and agricultural programs for area families. In addition, The Trustees plan to use the site as a hub for the important conservation outreach and community building work of The Trustees’ Highland Communities Initiative. In the meantime, The Trustees will begin caring for the land and plan to reach out to the communities of Ashfield and Conway to listen to residents’ ideas for the new reservation and to identify volunteers for the stewardship efforts ahead.
“This successful outcome for the Bullitt estate is a testament to the generosity of the Bullitt Foundation and the hard work of Ashfield volunteers and community members who kept a guiding hand on the project over the last decade,” said Andy Kendall, President of The Trustees of Reservations. “Generations to come will benefit from their commitment to preserve this significant landscape as part of the Pioneer Valley?s natural, historic, and cultural character.”
In addition to owning the 262 acres of conservation land, The Trustees hold a conservation restriction on the majority of the remaining Bullitt estate land, approximately 100 acres on the northern side of Bullitt Road, which was sold with the main Bullitt house and barn to a private buyer late last year. The Trustees also own and manage two other properties in Ashfield – Bear Swamp and Chapel Brook Reservations – both popular community recreational sites and important ecological habitats. The new reservation will add to The Trustees’ diversity of program and property offerings in this corner of the Pioneer Valley.
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. About the Trustees in the Pioneer Valley
Since 2001, The Trustees have been working to build a stronger conservation presence in the Pioneer Valley region with educational and grassroots community outreach programs and the pursuit of more significant land conservation opportunities. Currently, The Trustees own and manage 10 spectacular properties in the Valley including: Notchview, the Bryant Homestead, Dinosaur Footprints, Chapel Brook, Bear Swamp, Chesterfield Gorge, Petticoat Hill, Glendale Falls, Little Tom Mountain (to open 2012) and Peaked Mountain, with several prospective properties planned for the future. In addition, The Trustees locally operate the Highland Communities Initiative (HCI), a program created to protect the natural and cultural character of the 38 rural Hilltowns located between the Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers. To find out more about HCI, please visit www.highlandcommunities.org
. To reach The Trustees of Reservations Pioneer Valley regional office, please call 413.532.1631. Organizational Information: More about The Trustees Statewide
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you, who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary, Charles Eliot, in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for special places throughout the Commonwealth called “reservations.”
A member-, donor-, volunteer-, and endowment-supported organization, The Trustees own and care for 100 spectacular reservations located on 25,000 acres in 70 communities throughout Massachusetts. From working farms and historic homesteads, several of which are National Historic Landmarks, to formal gardens, barrier beaches, open meadows, woodland trails, mountain vistas, a Gold LEED-certified green building, and popular campground, all reservations are open for the public to enjoy and offer something for everyone.
On its 100 reservations, The Trustees offer hundreds of programs and activities throughout the year, most of which are free-of-charge or discounted for members. In addition, The Trustees are a leader in the conservation movement and have served as a model for other land trusts nationally and internationally. Working with communities and conservation partners around the state in addressing important conservation issues and efforts, The Trustees hold conservation restrictions on more than 16,000 acres of privately owned land and have worked with partners around the state to assist in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres.
As land is being developed and open space is being fragmented at a rapid pace of 40 acres per day around the state, time is running out to save the best of Massachusetts’ landscapes and landmarks. To find out how you can protect a special place in your community, become a partner, request a speaker, and/or become a Trustee through your volunteer, donor or membership contributions, please call 781.784.0567, visit www.thetrustees.org
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. We are all Trustees of our planet. What special places do you care for?