Metacomet Land Trust PO Box 231 Franklin, MA 02038

Our History: 33 Years of Land Preservation in South Central Massachusetts

2022 –  Metacomet was gifted a 37 acre parcel along the Step River in Norfolk by the Clapp family.  The beautiful property includes expansive cattail wetland along the river and upland “islands” vegetated with mature white pine.  Metacomet also acquired a 4.4 acre parcel in Manchaug, Sutton, with the owner receiving a tax credit for the donation. The parcel is mostly forested wetland and it abuts a unique sluiceway which once supplied water to a nearby mill. The Sutton Conservation Commission holds a Conservation Restriction on the property to assure its permanent protection. 

2021 –  Metacomet partnered with the Town of Upton, the Sudbury Valley Trustees, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts  to permanently protect four‪ parcels on Peppercorn Hill owned‪ by‪ the‪ Kelly‪ Family.  MLT owns one of the parcels, the 25.7 acre Donald and Anne Kerr Preserve.  The Upton owns the other three parcels.    In Sutton, MLT was deeded 19.5 acres of open space preserved as part of the Stockwell Farm subdivision.

2020 –– Metacomet gratefully accepted the donation by Raymond and Diane Berthelette of our first preserve in Millville, the Alfred and Rina Berthelette Preserve. The beautiful forested property contains a mix of upland and wetland habitats and a seasonal stream which flows into the Blackstone River. The Millville Conservation Commission holds a Conservation Restriction on the property to assure its permanent protection..  Metacomet was awarded a $56,500 Conservation Partnership grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to partially fund purchase of a parcel Peppercorn Hill in Upton. The Sudbury Valley Trustees,  a regional land trust that works in Upton and other Sudbury River watershed communities, obtained a $45,000 foundation grant to help purchase the MLT parcel. Three other  three parcels on Peppercorn Hill will be purchased by the Town of Upton using Community Preservation Act Funds.

2019 – Twenty-four acres of open space in the Presidential Farms development in Northbridge is deeded to Metacomet by developer David Brossi. The Bonner Natural Area, 70 acres off North Street in Upton, and a small parcel in Sutton near Stevens Pond are donated to the trust.   Metacomet is also granted a Conservation Restriction on Upton’s Heritage Park.  Metacomet observes its 30th anniversary and publishes an anniversary booklet. 

2018 –  A 3 acre parcel in Upton and Milford with of frontage on Mill Brook is donated to Metacomet by Jodi Naze and her husband.  The Upton Conservation Commission holds a Conservation Restriction on the property, known as the Blue Conservation Area.  George Ford donates a 17 acre parcel off Hartford Ave to Metacomet and an 11 acre parcel with frontage on Stevens Pond in Sutton is donated to Metacomet by the Sutton Development Trust.  Metacomet’s 30th year! 

2017 – The Town of Webster is added to the Metacomet service area.  A 38.9 acre parcel with 1800 ft. of frontage on Stevens Pond in Sutton is donated to Metacomet by the Sutton Development Trust.

2016 – The Town of Hopedale is added to the Metacomet service area. Ruguleiski Woods, a 26 acre parcel in Upton is donated to Metacomet by the Ruguleiski family.

2015 – Metacomet assists the Town of Mendon in preservation of the Pearson Farm and agrees to monitor a Conservation Restriction on the property held by the town.  The trust also accepts a CR on a 4.7 acre parcel in Norfolk owned by Massachusetts Audubon.

2014 – Metacomet is granted Conservation Restricitons on three parcels owned by the Town of Mendon, totalling 147 acres. Metacomet also partnered with the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to preserve two parcels of land in Sutton, totaling 20 acres.

2013 – Metacomet assists the Town of Upton in raising funds for fencing and a parking area at the Whitney Conservation Area.

2012 – Shirley Smith generously donates a 14.3 acre Conservation Restriction on a wooded parcel along the Mill River in Mendon.

2010 – Metacomet accepts the donation of a 9.3 acre parcel on Manchaug Road in Sutton from Gretchen Richards and Robert Ferragamo. The beautiful wooded parcel overlooks Manchaug Pond and features impressive stands of mountain laurel and rocky outcrops. We also successfully helped the Friends of Millbury Open Space raise the funds necessary to purchase a 15 acre parcel on Old Common Road.

2009 – Metacomet receives a bequest from the estate of Arthur D. Nelson which includes 3 parcels, totalling 14.5 acres, on Daniels Road in Franklin. The largest (12 acre) parcel will be known as the Reid Memorial Conservation Area. The towns of Northbridge and Millbury are added to the Metacomet service area. We also receive a Conservation Restriction on 13.6 acres of land adjacent to the Luarel Book Club in Uxbridge.

2008 – Metacomet celebrates its 20th Anniversary and drafts Strategic Plan to guide the future of the trust. We also sponsor a Farm Tour of the Blackstone River Valley.

2007 – Metacomet donated a conservation restriction on the 130 acres of woodland and natural habitat at the Daniels Farm to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. We received a challenge grant from the James Lee and Annanette Harper Family Foundation of Texas as a lead gift to help us raise funds to hire part-time staff.

2006 – The transfer of the historic buildings and farm fields of the Southwick-Daniels Farm to the newly formed Daniels Farmstead Foundation was completed in November. Metacomet completed a forest management plan which will provide for sustainable forest management of the woodland at the Daniels Farm.

2005 – In May, the Department of Conservation & Recreation, the Whitinsville Water Company, and MLT celebrate the opening of the company’s land in Sutton. In December, the owners of the Hancock Christmas Tree Farm in Wrentham donate a permanent conservation restriction on their 27-acre property, which contains significant habitat for wildlife and birds. The land is part of the Warner Trail, a non-motorized foot path which is maintained by volunteers.

2004 – In Wrentham, residents organize a subcommittee of Metacomet to work on local conservation projects. The Wrentham Land Preservation Fund was established to accept donations for conservation in Wrentham.

Metacomet plays a key role in opening over 100 acres of private land to public trails in Sutton. The land trust will be the linchpin in a 3-way trail agreement on land owned by the Whitinsville Water Company, next to Purgatory Chasm State Park and the Sutton State Forest.

In December, the estate of Sutton resident Daniel Griffith donates a conservation restriction on his 27-acre forestry land near the Mumford River in Manchaug Village. The forest is comprised mainly of mixed oak, oak-hardwoods, red oak and oak-white pine that were established over 60 years ago.

2003 – The second meeting of the Blackstone River Conservation Alliance attracted 70 activists who broke into ten tables to focus on resources in the sub-basins of the Valley. Each group identified the major open space and conservation parcels already protected and then began to identify the priorities for future protection. Metacomet received a grant from the Greater Worcester Community Foundation for a GIS training program for conservation volunteers in Worcester County and for an Internet web site for the Alliance.

2002 – Metacomet convenes a regional conservation coalition to advance conservation in the Blackstone River Watershed, with grants from the Land Trust Alliance, the BRVNHCC, and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (a project of the US EPA, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs Watersheds Initiative, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission). The kick-off workshop for BRCA was held in Uxbridge, with representatives from over 35 organizations.

At year-end, the Trust recorded a gift of seven acres of woodland in Sutton from John and Donna Couture, of North Brookfield. This land lies within the Lake Manchaug Greenway & Wildlife Corridor. This upland on the east side of Lake Manchaug contains wetland zones with habitat for native birds and butterflies. John Couture planned this gift after discussions with former MLT Board Member John S. Duff.

2001 – Jim and Marina Gvadzvaukas make the first private donation of land for the Lake Manchaug Greenway, a 6-acre parcel in Sutton.

In March, the Town of Mendon again votes overwhelmingly to purchase open space: the 95-acre Kelly farm and adjacent land owned by the Paddock Family. In June, the purchase of 120 A from Herb Wood is completed by the Town of Mendon.

In June MLT delivers draft of the update to Tri-Town Regional Open Space & Recreation Plan to Franklin, Bellingham and Blackstone and completes a Greenway Report for Daniels Farm and Quisset WMA, including a trail map of existing trails.

In November, Metacomet accepts the gift of nine acres of land in Sutton from the Otco Corporation. This gift marks the last completed project of Sutton board member John S. Duff, who served the land trust for 10 years and assisted in the preservation of nearly 1,000 acres of natural land. Mr. Duff was honored for his outstanding service at our annual meeting just a few days after this deed was recorded.

2000 – Working with the Town of Mendon Land Use Policy Committee, Metacomet forges a public/private partnership to purchase 120 additional acres on north side of Quisset Wildlife Mgt Area. Metacomet secured private donations of $125,000; went to Mendon Town Meeting and achieved unanimous vote to spend $150,000; MA Fisheries & Wildlife agrees to provide the balance to purchase this special habitat and expand the protected corridor to 700 acres.

The Lady Bug Trail near the J.F. Kennedy Elementary School in Franklin is dedicated to the memory of Alfred S. Ferguson, father of the property donor. The wooded parcel is used for environmental education programs given by Massachusetts Audubon teacher/naturalists working with Kennedy teachers and 600 students each year.

In October, our seventh affordable home in Franklin is sold to first-time homebuyers.

In December, MLT accepts donation of a CR with endowment on 27-acre Foxfire Farm in Uxbridge from Ann and John Hanscom.

1999 – Henry Boria donates 126 of land in Sutton and Millbury to Metacomet. Mr. Boria’s gift includes the woodland portions of the Boria Family Farm.
The Trust completes construction of its seventh affordable home in Franklin. MLT receives state and foundation support to prepare a Greenways Report on the Daniels Farm and the surrounding area.

1998 – MLT accepts the generous donation by Doris Daniels King of 188 acres of land and buildings in Blackstone, well known as the Daniels Farm and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This property abuts the Quisset Wildlife Management Area and the gift enlarges the protected corridor to 600 acres.
1997 – Metacomet assists MA DEM with land acquisition efforts, funding appraisals along the Blackstone River in Millville and Blackstone, in hopes of further joint projects.

The Trust accepts temporary ownership of an in-holding in the Douglas State Forest, subsequently conveyed to DEM.

Metacomet also assists in an important land protection project in Sutton: the Waters property was purchased by year’s end and adds 340 acres to Purgatory Chasm State Reservation.

1996 – Metacomet acquires 62-acre parcel adjacent to Upton State Forest. A conservation buyer with forestry background purchases the property reserving two house lots and donates a Conservation Restriction on the remainder, protecting this wildlife corridor from further development.

In Franklin, a 2-acre parcel off Coronation Drive is donated; working with the Kennedy School and Mass Audubon, the Lady Bug Nature Trail is developed as an outdoor classroom.

1995 – Working with MA Fisheries & Wildlife, Metacomet successfully bids at FDIC auction for 388-acre Quisset Hill property on Hop Brook in Blackstone and Mendon and holds until state can assume ownership.

In Sutton, Metacomet accepts gift of 3.2 acres from Peladeau family on Central Turnpike, an area facing increasing development.

Metacomet completes first regional Open Space and Recreation Plan for Bellingham, Blackstone and Franklin.

1994 – 42 acres of open space at Franklin Woods donated by developer Nick Stiviletta to Metacomet as part of a cluster subdivision.

1993 – Affordable housing construction continues in Franklin through second EOCD grant supervised by Metacomet. Trust expands its operating area into Douglas, Mendon, Millville, Norfolk, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge to answer pleas for conservation assistance.

1992 – High Rocks Gorge and Rolling Dam on the Blackstone River preserved after Metacomet spearheads a major fundraising effort to hold off sale until Mass DEM can join with RI DEM, The Conservation Fund and Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor to create 200-acre bi-state park. Metacomet’s action to raise $30,000 to prove local support preserves the critical 22-acre dam site.

1991 – MA EOCD grant to Town of Franklin administered by Metacomet results in rehab of affordable homes for five families in unique concept: Trust owns land, sweat equity by families improves housing, and a limited appreciation formula insures permanent affordability.

1990 – Metacomet steps in at request of The Trustees of Reservations to accept a Conservation Restriction with endowment on over 11 acres on the Charles River in Bellingham owned by Conservation Commission.

1989 – The Trust accepts a gift of 10.5 acres and $2,000 endowment from Franklin developer John Colella.

1988 – Metacomet is founded by a small group of conservation-minded residents to work in Blackstone, Bellingham and Franklin.