Great Oak Farm spans 39 acres of forest and farmland in the northeast corner of Berlin. Once the largest organic strawberry operation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the property became a horse-boarding farm when the owner retired. In 2018, the Town of Berlin and SVT purchased a conservation restriction on the land that protects it as agricultural land forever.
A 1-mile-long trail now takes hikers along an old forest road to a beautiful hilltop. The trail also winds around horse pastures, fields, and a pond.
Conservation Wins at the Ballot in Berlin, Sudbury
Good news! SVT learned today that voters in Berlin and Sudbury approved ballot measures that we supported.
In Berlin, voters approved the Community Preservation Act (CPA), which will levy a surtax on property taxes in order to create a fund that can be used on local projects such as Open Space, Historic Preservation, Recreation, and Affordable Housing. The Town reported the election results on its Facebook feed: Yes--976, No--726, Blank--58.
In Sudbury, the effort to purchase and protect Broadacres Farm was also approved. The purchase will permanently protect 20 scenic of pasture and wildlife habitat and will allow the Town to expand the adjacent Featherland Park. According to the Town's website, the final vote tally was Yes--5924, No--3011, Blank--545.
SVT congratulates both towns. We are thrilled to see that conservation is important to the voters in our region.
Conservation Success on Mount Pisgah – Decades in the Making
Congratulations to the Town of Berlin for acquiring and conserving approximately 84 acres on Mount Pisgah!
Mount Pisgah is a popular hiking destination for area residents, and its most popular spot—the North Overlook—sits on this newly protected land. The land was previously owned by Warren Oberg, who had graciously allowed hiking trails to cross his property. The North Overlook will be renamed the Warren S. Oberg Overlook in his honor.
The Commonwealth has wanted to protect this property for decades, and local resident Walter Bickford, who is a Berlin Conservation Commissioner, former Berlin Selectmen, and former State Representative, began working on the conservation project in the 1980s.
SVT assisted the Town of Berlin in its successful application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant that supplied part of the acquisition costs. SVT will hold a CR over approximately 76 of the acres. Another 6.5 acres were donated to the Town of Northboro.
Look out for improved signage at Mount Pisgah and an improved trail head from this property on Lyman Road at the Northboro/Berlin town-line.
Berlin Meadows, owned by the Town of Berlin, is a mix of open field, wet meadow, forested wetland and upland, and dense successional scrub. It provides natural flood control and storm drainage to neighboring communities. The Town donated a conservation restriction on Berlin Meadows to SVT.
Sawyer Hill, which is privately owned land, consists of forested open space and public trails. SVT has held a conservation restriction on this land since 2008.
Great Oak Farm Is Conserved!
The Town of Berlin and SVT have good news: We officially acquired a conservation restriction on 39 acres of Great Oak Farm on April 27.
Many thanks to the Bentzen family for their generosity, to Beezy Bentzen for managing this project for her family, to the Town of Berlin for its tireless support of conservation, to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for its financial support, and to the many individuals who donated funds to this project.
The Bentzen family sold the conservation restriction on the 39 acres at a below-market-value price. The Bentzen family will continue to own the property, but have graciously granted a perimeter trail as part of this transaction. In addition, they donated an abutting 1.2-acre parcel to the Town of Berlin that will be used for a parking area.
An SVT volunteer crew was hard at work on April 21, readying the trail, which Steen Bentzen has long hoped to open to the public. We'll announce the trail opening in the next few months.
The family is thrilled that Steen Bentzen’s wish to conserve his property for future generations has been realized, and we are grateful to be the beneficiaries of his vision!
Spotted Salamanders in Berlin
March 30, 2018
Carolyn MacDonald recorded this video of spotted salamanders in a Berlin vernal pool.
Garter Snake in Berlin
April 11, 2018
Volunteer Week 2018: April 15 to 21
SVT invites you to participate in the projects we have planned for National Volunteer Week 2018, April 15 to 21. Please click the links below to learn more and sign up:
New volunteers welcome!
If you have never volunteered with SVT before, please fill out a Volunteer Information Form before signing up for a project. Thank you !
Conserving Berlin's Great Oak Farm
SVT and the Town of Berlin are working to conserve the beautiful, pristine Great Oak Farm, which spans 39 acres in northern Berlin. The current owners, the Bentzen family, want to ensure the land always remains viable as farmland and that the public can continue to enjoy it.
The Bentzens have agreed to sell the Town a conservation restriction (CR) on the land for $500,000, a generous discount off the appraised value of $746,000.
We initiated this project several years ago. We now expect to close in the first half of 2018, after which we will open a public trail around the property and create a small parking area nearby. Learn more.
White-tailed Deer in Berlin
November 7, 2017
Paul Bakstran used his automatically triggered wildlife camera to photograph these white-tailed deer in Berlin.