As a regional non-profit land trust, SVT collaborates with individual landowners, local land trusts, and municipal, state, and federal agencies to protect land for wildlife habitat, passive recreation, agriculture, and forestry.
In some cases, we acquire a property to own and manage as a reservation, and in other cases we monitor conservation land owned by others. In either situation, our job is to ensure that no unapproved development or other activity takes place on the land.
How SVT Works with Landowners
Our land protection staff works with landowners who are interested in making long-term conservation plans for their land. It is important that landowners work with their own tax advisor and attorney, but SVT can assist in planning for the future of a family’s land.
SVT can help landowners find ways to avoid selling treasured family land for development when faced with unplanned expenses or high estate taxes. Options may include seeking funding for conservation from municipalities, from grants, or through private fundraising.
There are several techniques available for protecting land in perpetuity, all of which can be tailored to fit both a landowner’s goals for the property and his or her financial objectives, including income and estate tax planning. To learn more, see Ways to Conserve Land. As with any real estate transaction, a conservation deal has many steps, and SVT’s land protection staff can help a landowner navigate the process.
How SVT Works with Land Trusts and Government Agencies
SVT partners with municipal boards and committees, local land trusts, and state and federal agencies to support one another’s conservation goals and to pool resources to enable conservation. SVT may end up co-holding interests in a piece of land with another entity, or we may simply assist in a land protection project by helping to raise funds or public awareness about the project.
To learn about the different ways you can conserve your land, please see Ways to Conserve Land. We are always willing to discuss your conservation options with you and point you toward the best resources for your situation. Contact information for our Land Protection staff is listed on the Contact SVT page.
Current Land Protection Projects
On March 22, Boxborough Conservation Trust (BCTrust), with the assistance of Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) and the Boxborough Conservation Commission, acquired Elizabeth Brook Knoll, a 15-acre wooded property on the Boxborough-Harvard line that features rock outcroppings and provides superb habitat for threatened species of turtles and salamanders. SVT and the Boxborough Conservation Commission hold a conservation restriction on the property.
Great Oak Farm consists of approximately 39 acres of forest and farmland in the northeast corner of Berlin. SVT and the Town of Berlin have conserved Great Oak Farm with a co-held conservation restriction. The trail was completed in November 2018.
In late 2016, SVT and the Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) embarked on a joint venture to preserve 47 ecologically important acres on Sherry Road in Harvard. The Horse Meadows Knoll property boasts a beautiful beech forest, a historic reservoir, and wetlands, and it is home to several endangered species.
The Smith Property consists of 61 acres of forest, open fields, wetlands, and old farm fields. The property is wedged between Black Pond in Harvard and Beaver Brook in Littleton, with 1200 feet of frontage on both sides of Whitcomb Avenue in Harvard and Littleton.
With all of these features as well as with a ridge running along its western border and with caverns and caves scattered throughout, it is no surprise that the Smith Property has become a beloved community asset, well-known for its spectacular views, its unique wildlife habitat, and its agricultural history.
Working in a nine-square mile area around Mount Pisgah and the Wachusett Reservoir, the partners in the Tri-Town Landscape Protection Project seek to protect 500 acres of this land, comprised of quality habitat, working farms, and recreational trails, connecting valuable natural landscapes with the potential to link this area up to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire though a network of conservation land.
The project was initiated in 2014. As of June 2018, we have conserved 12 properties, totaling 454 acres.