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

Photo by Rita Gibes Grossman
Photo by Rita Gibes Grossman
Photo by Simon Bunyard

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. Learn more.

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 stream and 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 Sherry Fendell
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.

If we succeed in protecting this land, the public will be able to use it for hiking, fishing, and hunting.

On February 15, 2019, Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) acquired the Smith Property, a spectacular 49-acre property in Littleton, and the Town of Harvard purchased the 12 acres that sit on the Harvard side of the town line. Renamed the Smith Conservation Land, the 61-acre property consists of forest, open fields, wetlands, and old farm fields. It is wedged between Black Pond in Harvard and Beaver Brook in Littleton. The Littleton Conservation Trust (LCT) was a wonderful partner in this endeavor and will continue to hold a Conservation Restriction over the entire Smith Conservation Land. Learn more.

Thistle Dew Farm is a 28-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 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 June 2018, we have conserved 12 properties, totaling 454 acres. Learn more.