Land Protection

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

The Town of Littleton has an opportunity to add the lovely Brown's Woods to its local conservation lands and also create public trails for passive recreation. The protection of Brown's Woods will add a critical link in a corridor of conservation land that includes Prouty Woods, Long Lake, and the Littleton Town Forest.

Photo by Sherry Fendell
Photo by Sherry Fendell

SVT and the City of Framingham are collaborating on a project to protect Chickatawbut Woods in the northern part of the city. 

This 19-acre wooded property off Edmands Road is owned by Impact Framingham, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the Framingham Civic League. The land was given to the Civic League in 1963 for educational, recreational, and open space purposes, and has been vacant since that time. SVT and the City have been in discussions to acquire and protect this property for more than a decade.

The area where Harvard, Littleton, and Boxborough meet is home to thousands of acres of ecologically important lands. The region includes essential wildlife habitat, healthy forests, an abundance of water resources, and productive working farms and orchards. We call this area the High Ridge, and SVT--along with our conservation partners in the three towns--will be working with local landowners to protect as much of the wildlife habitat, working farms, and orchards as possible. Learn more.

Photo by Dany Pelletier

SVT is part of an effort to protect an important property abutting Callahan State Park.

For several years, SVT has supported the efforts of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the City of Marlborough to expand the 958-acre Callahan State Park by acquiring the 33-acre O’Donnell Property in Marlborough.

Prospect Hill Orchard is made up of 75 stunning acres in Harvard. Since 2014, it has been owned and operated by Community Harvest Project, a nonprofit with a mission to engage volunteers in the fight against hunger. Since 2015, CHP has donated over 360,000 pounds of apples to food banks with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

Now, in an effort to ensure the future of this charitable work, a team of partners are working to raise funds to endow the orchard:

Photo by Sherry Fendell

SVT is working with the Town of Upton and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to protect the 48-acre Robertson property on Fowler Street in Upton. The land provides important habitat for rare salamanders and turtles, and it also overlooks Warren Brook, an important coldwater stream that supports native brook trout.

Thistle Dew Farm is a 33.74-acre farm located on Highland Street in Holliston, on the Ashland town line. For decades, it has been farmed by Charlie Nickerson, who now wishes to see the farm permanently protected. The Town of Holliston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are seeking to purchase an Agricultural Preservation Restriction on 28.74 acres of the property.

Stream at Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, photograph by David Ashley
Stream at Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, photograph by David Ashley
Field at Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, photograph by David Kindler
Wet meadow at Golas Farm, Boylston

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 December 2019, we have conserved 13 properties, totaling 473 acres. Learn more.

Wendler Stream - tributary to North Brook
Wendler forest

SVT has worked with the Town of Berlin to protect the 30-acre Wendler Property near the town's boundary with Bolton. SVT temporarily purchased the property until Berlin could free up the necessary funds. On March 30, 2020, the Town purchased the land from us, and SVT holds a conservation restriction over it.