O'Brien Farm has been Conserved Permanently!
On December 28, 2012, a Conservation Restriction (“CR”) co-held by Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town of Westford’s Conservation Commission was recorded, permanently protecting 23 acres in Westford. The O’Brien Farm CR allows for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and passive public recreation via an existing trail network.
O’Brien Farm is a step back into history with an 18th century barn, classic rock walls, and a streetscape reminiscent of the 1880s. Located on “Scenic” Vose Road, it hosts a variety of habitats, including open meadows, forested uplands, a wooded swamp, marshlands, and perennial Pond Brook. Owned by the same family since 1886, it was originally operated as a general farm with animals, vegetables, strawberries, and fruit trees common to the era. It is now actively managed for the benefit of wildlife through a plan with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, known as WHIP. The farm is noted as a “Land of Conservation Interest” in Westford’s Open Space and Recreation Plan due to its significant ecological, historic, scenic, and recreational values. Its 2,220 feet of frontage on Vose Road, a designated “Scenic Road,” make it a visible and valued parcel in Westford and beyond.
The project reflects a remarkable collaboration among numerous public and private entities and individuals who made this CR a reality. The protection of this beautiful farm was originally conceived by its 4th generation landowner, Charlie McColough, who generously agreed to provide a conservation restriction to Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town of Westford at a bargain sale price. This past fall, Westford Town Meeting approved the appropriation of $760,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for the project. SVT submitted a grant application to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Conservation Partnership Grant Program for $85,000. Our local conservation partner, the Westford Land Preservation Foundation (WLPF), applied for a $10,000 grant from the Fields Pond Foundation. Both grants, totaling $95,000, were approved for full funding. Additionally, through joint fundraising efforts of SVT and WLPF, the remaining $100,000 was raised privately from neighbors of the farm and other supporters.
When we reached Charlie McColough on New Year’s Eve, he said, “The McColough family is just thrilled that this very special land, which we have owned for over 125 years, will be preserved forever as an oasis for wildlife and for the town and others to enjoy.”
Thank you, Charlie, for your conservation vision and model stewardship of your property. Many thanks also go to our conservation partner, WLPF, for its invaluable assistance and to you, our members, for your generous support of this project. We invite you to Westford to walk, ski or snow shoe O’Brien Farm’s network of beautiful trails!