Metacomet Land Trust PO Box 231 Franklin, MA 02038

MLT Completes Two Conservation Projects in Upton and Sutton

This is why we do what we do: In June, Metacomet recorded the gift of 19 acres in Sutton on Dodge Hill Road AND the purchase of 25 acres to expand the Peppercorn Hill conservation area in Upton! These projects exemplify why our volunteers and members devote countless hours to working with town boards, landowners, state agencies and our conservation allies to see projects through to completion.

You, our members, neighbors and friends, are essential to this work. We couldn’t do it without you and hope that you will be able to join us soon to explore these two conservation areas.

We are proud to be your local land trust and that you choose to support our organization.

Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area Gains 67 Acres

Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area

Along the trails at Peppercorn Hill in Upton. Photo by SVT.

A year-long effort to conserve the 67-acre Kelly Property in the eastern part of Upton concluded in June, when the Town of Upton purchased three parcels of the property and Metacomet Land Trust (MLT) purchased the fourth. The property will now become part of the adjacent Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area.

Metacomet has named its new parcel in honor of Donald and Anne Kerr, long-time friends of conservation in Upton.

The Kelly Property hosts mature forests, wetlands, streams, a vernal pool, and rocky outcrops. In addition, the popular Peppercorn Hill trails cross the property and offers a stunning view to the west from a scenic overlook.

“People who have visited the trails at the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area in the past have likely walked across the Kelly Property without realizing that it wasn’t public land,” said Lisa Mosczynski, President of MLT. “By protecting the property, the project partners have ensured that the public will always have full access to the entire trail network and can enjoy the view from atop Peppercorn Hill.”

MLT purchased its 25-acre parcel on June 15 with assistance from Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), a regional land trust that works in 36 communities. MLT received a $56,500 Conservation Partnership grant for the purchase from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

To close the gap in the purchase price and to cover costs such as legal fees, SVT secured additional grants from anonymous foundations, and the two member-supported land trusts worked together to solicit donations from private individuals. “We are grateful to SVT for supporting this project and helping it to succeed,” said Mosczynski. “MLT is also proud to have worked with the Town to expand the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area, protect important wildlife habitat, and provide recreational opportunities for the public far into the future.”

After both deals closed, Meredith Houghton, SVT Land Protection Specialist, commented, “SVT believes it is important to act now in order to conserve precious open spaces such as the Kelly Property. We were delighted to collaborate with MLT and the Town to protect this land for the surrounding communities.”

Houghton continued, “We also thank everyone, including over 70 area residents, who donated to the fundraising campaign to save this land. Your support was essential to the project’s success.”

A trail map for the Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area is available on the Town of Upton website.  An update will be published soon.


Stockwell Farm Field

A portion of the property at the former Stockwell Farm, in Sutton. Photo by Patrice Murphy, MLT.

On June 25th, Metacomet recorded a gift of 19.5 acres in Sutton located off of Leland Hill and Dodge Hill Roads. This land was donated for permanent conservation as part of a town-approved Open Space subdivision plan for the former Stockwell Farm.

We often say that our work takes time and in this case we first visited the property in September of 2018. The plan was already on file with the town so that even though it subsequently changed ownership, the open space was delineated. The sub-division plan required the open space to be held by a qualified conservation organization and we were happy to accept the deed transfer.

The parcel contains approximately 9+ acres of previously farmed upland as well as excellent wildlife habitat. We thank the heirs of the Stockwell Farm for including open space in their plans and we thank the current developers for working with us to preserve this open space in perpetuity.