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

SVT has teamed up with the Town of Littleton and the Littleton Conservation Trust to purchase and protect Browns' Woods. The protection of the property will add a critical link in a corridor of conservation land that includes Prouty Woods, Long Lake, and the Littleton Town Forest. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has awarded a grant to the town that will provide well over half the funding required for the acquisition. 

Photo by Sherry Fendell
Photo by Sherry Fendell

Update: April 27, 2021: 
We have reached our fundraising goal! Thank you to everyone who supported this project. We will continue to work with our partners in the City of Framingham to close on the purchase before the end of June.

Chickatawbut Woods is a 19-acre property located off Edmands Road in the northern part of Framingham. The land is owned by Impact Framingham, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the Framingham Civic League. It was given to the Civic League in 1963 and has been vacant since that time.

Photo by Sherry Fendell

About the Area

The Greater Callahan area spans about 20-square miles at the intersection of Framingham, Marlborough, Southborough, and Sudbury. The area is known for its rural landscapes and scenic farmlands.

The 800-acre Callahan State Park sits at the core of the region and includes seven miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and dog walking. The state park is surrounded by other conserved lands owned by the four municipalities as well as by nonprofit organizations such as Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Boy Scouts.

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.

Existing trails cross the Kelly parcels
Old stone walls crisscross Peppercorn Hill
Large rock outcrops are a feature of the site

SVT is working with the Metacomet Land Trust (MLT) and the Town of Upton to protect the Kelly Property on the eastern edge of Upton and add it to the popular Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.

The privately owned Kelly Property sits within the Peppercorn Hill land and abuts the Rockwood Meadows Open Space. The land hosts mature forests, wetlands, tributary streams of Mill River, a vernal pool, and impressive rocky outcrops. In addition, about 1 mile of the Peppercorn Hill trail network crosses this land.

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 protect this important piece of land and to ensure the future of this charitable work, a team of partners are working to raise funds to endow the orchard:

A view of the farm buildings from across the growing fields.
The farm from above.
The southern end of the farm is made up of woodland.

SVT is working with the Town of Acton, Acton Conservation Trust, and Boston Area Gleaners to protect Stonefield Farm with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, and our local fundraising campaign is underway!

Acton Voters will be asked to contribute $1.2 million of Community Preservation Funds toward the $1.9 million purchase price of the APR during Town Meeting on June 21. SVT and ACT have agreed to raise at least $50,000 to help close the gap. Please help protect this land! 

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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.