Northwest Framingham is characterized by abundant woodland, working farms, and pastoral views. It is home to many miles of trails, including the Bay Circuit Trail. Recreation opportunities abound, from Callahan State Park to the Town's Wittenborg Woods.
Now, SVT and the Town of Framingham have an opportunity to protect another gem, Wayside Forest.
Please help protect this land!
Wayside Forest consists of two parcels in the northwest corner of Framingham, one of approximately 27 acres and one of approximately 25 acres.
The lowest elevations of the property occur in the north and east, where the property has frontage on Dartmouth Drive to the north and Wayside Inn Road to the east. Here, there are a series of isolated wetlands and several vernal pools.
The topography rises very steeply to the south, leveling off slightly in some areas. One interesting feature is a ravine that begins on the southwest property line and continues onto a neighboring property.
Why protect this land
Wayside Forest was identified in the 2000 Greater Callahan Plan as a top priority for protection. This is because of its size, its proximity to existing conservation land (it is adjacent to SVT's Henry's Hill Reservation and sits across the street from the Town of Framingham's Wittenborg Woods), and its high-quality wildlife habitat.
The area along Wayside Inn Road has been identified as BioMap2 Core Habitat by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, due to the presence of the four–toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum). Vernal pools on the property provide habitat for this species, which until 2006 was listed as Endangered under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.
In addition, part of the property is considered habitat for Eastern box turtle (Terrapene Carolina), which is listed as a species of Special Concern in Massachusetts.
How we will protect this land
SVT and the landowners have entered into an Option agreement by which SVT may purchase one of the two lots that make up the property for $465,000 (appraised value). If we are successful the landowners will donate the second parcel to us - essentially a half-price sale! The City of Framingham will hold a conservation restriction over the entire 52 acres.
SVT will develop a small parking area on Wayside Inn Road, and will improve the trail system and install signage.
The Ciy of Framingham received incredible and welcome news in March 2018 that its application to the state LAND (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity) grant program in 2017 will be funded, contrary to earlier news that there was not enough in the state's FY '18 budget for the project. This grant will provide $217,600 to the project cost. SVT must raise $265,000 privately to meet the remainder of the purchase price, to cover our transaction costs, and to set aside money in a permanent stewardship endownment to ensure the long-term care of the property.
The grant funding comes with the requirement that we must close on the purhcase by June 30th, 2018. If we are unable to reach our fundraising goal and purchase the property, the landowners will need to put it up for sale. At one point in the past, the property was to be combined with adjacent properties to enable a 31-lot subdivision (see plan at right). We can't let this happen!
Please help with a donation to this important open space project!