Horseshoe Pond, Berlin

Photo of Horseshoe Pond shore.
Photo by SVT staff.

Update November 10, 2022: The Town of Berlin has purchased Horseshoe Pond! These beautiful 100 acres on the northeast face of Mount Pisgah are now conserved for the benefit of future generations.

Located at the intersection of Linden Street and Lyman Road, Horseshoe Pond (formerly known as McGrail Farm) was the largest remaining piece of unprotected land on Mount Pisgah.

In September, SVT temporarily purchased the property until the Town could secure grants to take ownership and create a public conservation area. The Town recently received $874,268 in funds from the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program and purchased the land from us. Soon, SVT will hold a conservation restriction over the property to ensure its ecological values are permanently protected.

This was a rare opportunity to save an expanse of land in an environmentally important area that supports critical wetlands, an extensive wildlife corridor, and passive recreation. Many outdoor enthusiasts have been hiking this land and its dramatic topography for years; conserving this land will protect that right in perpetuity.

  • Location: Mount Pisgah, Berlin
  • Size: 100.23 acres
  • Land Type: Wetlands and Forested Uplands
  • Goal: Conservation Restriction (CR)
  • Project Partner: Town of Berlin

Open a map of the project area (pdf).

Protecting Horseshoe Pond will:

  • Expand the Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, which includes lands owned by SVT, the Town of Berlin, the Town of Northborough, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This property is largest remaining piece of undeveloped land on Mount Pisgah.
  • Protect undeveloped woodlands that provide a buffer against the effects of climate change. Undeveloped lands filled with diverse species of plants are better able to adapt to changing climate conditions.
  • Protect water resources. This undeveloped land filters the water that flows into streams, ponds, and wetlands.
  • Safeguard essential habitat for wildlife. Large corridors of conserved lands give wildlife “room to roam” in search of food and nesting spots. Bobcats, black bears, and moose have all been spotted in the area. The land also provides much-needed habitat for the threatened wood turtle. 
  • Ensure public access to existing hiking trails. Protection of this land will protect public access to a popular trail that connects to the Mount Pisgah trail network. 

SVT has the property under agreement with the landowners for $1.25 million. Funds to purchase the property will come from a combination of Town funds, grants, and private fundraising (see our Funding tab).

SVT will conduct due diligence and work with the Town to apply for grants. The Town would not be eligible for state grants if they own the land at the time they apply, so SVT is stepping in as an interim buyer. We plan to buy the land in Fall 2022 and hold it until any grant awards are made to the Town. 

Berlin voters overwhelmingly supported the use of CPA fund for the purchase of the property at two separate Town Meetings. With this support, the Town can now fully fund the project and is eligible for state grants that will reimburse as much as 75% of the purchase price.

Once the Town has all of its funds in place, SVT will resell the land to the Town and reserve a conservation restriction on the property.

  • Purchase Price: $1,250,000
  • Berlin CPA Funds Approved at Special Town Meeting on 11/8/2021: $490,000
  • Berlin CPA Funds and Free Cash Approved at Annual Town Meeting on 5/2/2022: $660,000
  • SVT Crowdfunding Campaign: $36,000
  • Private Foundations: $150,000
  • State Grants (Pending): Up to 75% of the purchase price to the Town.