High Ridge Initiative

Scarlet tanager
Scarlet tanager
Photo by Rita Grossman.
Scarlet tanager

The Towns of Harvard, Littleton, and Boxborough intersect along a ridge that spans thousands of acres of ecologically rich lands. We call this area the “High Ridge.”

A mosaic of 1,100 acres in the High Ridge area have been conserved in recent decades, but an additional 1,950 acres remain unprotected and vulnerable to development.

SVT and our conservation partners in the three towns have launched the High Ridge Initiative to save as many of these important lands as possible and create a conservation corridor through the region. 

High Ridge Partners
  • Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT)
  • Harvard Conservation Trust
  • Littleton Conservation Trust
  • Boxborough Conservation Trust
  • Local Conservation Commissions
High Ridge Initiative Successes

Launched in 2018, the High Ridge Initiative has already conserved these properties:

 Current Projects

We are also in the early stages of working with several other land owners who want to protect their land, and we hope to launch additional conservation projects soon.

The High Ridge area is rich with healthy, undeveloped lands that provide habitats for a multitude of wildlife. Intact forests filter clean water and protect air quality. Thriving orchards and farms dot the hillsides and provide fresh, local produce. Meandering hiking trails beckon us to get outside and explore, keeping us healthy and feeding our souls.

SVT and our project partners want to protect these qualities—the qualities that define the very character of the region. Protecting the natural resources of the High Ridge will: 

  • Make the region more resilient to climate change. Undeveloped lands with a diversity of species are better able to adapt to changing climate conditions. They also absorb water and snow from extreme storms, reducing the likelihood of area floods, and provide resilience to drought.
  • Safeguard essential habitat for wildlife. Large swaths of conserved lands provide wildlife corridors that give animals “room to roam” in search of food and nesting spots. 
  • Protect threatened species. At least three threatened and rare species find the core habitat they need in the High Ridge region.
  • Preserve water quality. High Ridge forests filter the water that flows into the headwaters of three river basins--the Nashua, the Stony Brook, and the Sudbury, Assabet, & Concord.
  • Ensure access to locally grown produce, allow farmers to continue to farm, and protect agricultural resources. By conserving local farms and orchards, we will preserve the agricultural economy of the region and enable future generations to enjoy freshly picked fruits and vegetables. 
  • Maintain and expand miles of walking trails. Where possible, SVT and our partners create trails that provide opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, bird watching, horseback riding, and more. We often link trails across multiple conservation areas to create extended opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.

SVT and our conservation partners will work with town commissions and private landowners to protect as many of these acres as possible. Some land owners may choose to sell (or donate) their land to a land trust or local government. Others may place conservation restrictions or agricultural preservation restrictions on their property to permanently protect the land from development.

Interested in learning more? Contact Meredith Houghton, Land Protection Specialist, at [email protected]