Press release provided by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles
MONTEREY – Governor Deval Patrick today joined state environmental officials and the Berkshire land conservation community in marking the completion of the Hudson Conservation Project – a two-phase public-private partnership that protects over 800 acres of forest and meadow in Tyringham and Monterey. Abutting or nearby another 12,450 protected acres, the newly-completed conservation project creates a virtually contiguous block of open space spanning 13,344 acres of the southern Berkshires.
At a celebration attended by project partners, the property’s former owner, outdoor enthusiasts, local legislators and municipal officials, Governor Patrick noted that the Hudson Conservation Project is among 222 land conservation efforts completed by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and other state environmental agencies in FY 2008. Overall, the Commonwealth invested approximately $50 million in capital funds last year to conserve 13,995 acres statewide.
“What we preserve in Massachusetts is just as important as what we build. The protection of these lands will enhance this area’s scenic qualities, as well as the recreational and ecological value of this conservation land,” Governor Patrick said. “This land will be protected forever – a legacy for our children, and our children’s children.”
The Governor noted that money to finance land investments such as the conservation restrictions highlighted today comes out of the Commonwealth’s capital budget, not agency operating funds.
The first phase of the Hudson Conservation Project took place in 2004, when the DFG purchased for $300,000 a conservation restriction on 356 acres in Tyringham and Monterey owned by the Hudson family. The family conveyed the underlying “fee” ownership of the property to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC).
Phase II was completed in June 2008, when DFG acquired two additional conservation restrictions on 450 acres of land for $1 million. Today’s event took place at the site of one of the conservation restricted properties – 73 acres on the shore of Steadman Pond, the fee ownership for which was conveyed by the Hudson family to the BNRC once the DFG conservation restriction was in place. The other conservation restriction covers 385 acres of land owned by the Monterey Preservation Land Trust (MPLT). This 385-acre property includes a 61-acre parcel purchased by MPLT from the Hudson family in June 2008 plus an adjoining 324 acres the Trust already owned. MPLT included the 324-acre parcel in this transaction – a gift to the Commonwealth worth $2 million.
“Preservation of this 800-acre-plus landscape would not have been possible without the foresight and generosity of our partners,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. “The Commonwealth owes a debt of gratitude to the Hudson family for choosing to preserve this property rather than sell it to developers, to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for helping to protect this significant parcel of pristine land, and to the Monterey Preservation Land Trust for its extraordinary donation of conservation restrictions worth $2 million.”
The Hudson Conservation Project preserves for posterity a diverse array of habitats, from hardwood and conifer forests and meadows to a rare acidic rock cliff natural community.
“The most recently completed acquisition safeguards three distinct habitats that the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program classifies as rare and in need of protection,” said Mary Griffin, Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game. “The property supports an incredible diversity of native wildlife species, including whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkey, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, red and gray fox, black ducks, and several rare and endangered species.”
One of 54 land conservation projects completed by DFG in FY 08 through the use of over $11 million in bond and Land Stamp funds, the Monterey-Tyringham land is among the agency’s most picturesque acquisitions.
“This is a remarkable landscape, nurtured for decades by a wonderful family. Barclay and Sarah Hudson inherited from their parents – also named Barclay and Sarah – a marvelous ethic of respect and love for nature, and we are delighted by the decision they have made to dedicate these acres to a future that will benefit us all,” said BNRC President Tad Ames. “We step into their shoes as stewards of Steadman Pond with both pride and humility.”
"This investment is truly cause for celebration," said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing. "This partnership will conserve an additional 800 acres of open space and wildlife habitat in Monterey and Tyringham, which will be enjoyed for generations. I am proud to see this type of public-private investment to protect our natural resources in Berkshire County."
Rep. William Smitty Pignatelli added, "The Hudson Conservation Project will protect our valuable open space here in the Berkshires - our greatest natural resource."