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Mount Grace Adds Valley to Conservation Land in Warwick

August 7, 2008 | Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (MA)

For immediate release
Date:
August 7, 2008

For information please contact:
Paul Daniello, Conservation Project Manager, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust 
(978) 248-2043 x 15 or daniello@mountgrace.org

Warwick, MA -  The Arthur Iversen Conservation Area now comprises 517 acres on both sides of Gale Road in Warwick.  Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust has been watching over the land since 1990, beginning with a core of 26 acres protected by Myra Iversen in memory of her husband.   The land includes hiking trails to Devil’s Washbowl and Rum Brook and serves as part of a land bridge connecting several parcels of the Warwick State Forest.  This summer, Mount Grace purchased 6.5 acres of land owned by the Blackbird family to be added to the Conservation Area.

The Blackbird parcel is a steep-sided valley that falls away from a rocky ridge running parallel to Hastings Pond Road down towards the course of Hedge Brook, in the Warwick State Forest.  The valley can be reached by following deer paths carefully down the hill.  The old oak, ash, and cherry trees on the slope and valley floor are sheltered from the wind, and since the hillsides are steep, have not been extensively cut.  The slopes are dotted with porcupine dens and provide ideal bobcat habitat.    Neighbor Jack Cadwell describes the valley as “deep enough, and remote enough, that there is very little sound or sign of human activity.  I’ve seen moose using the valley as a route to the wetlands around Hedge Brook, but the only sign of human activity I’ve seen recently was a buried tin can that was probably more than 50 years old.”

Mount Grace must raise approximately $4000 to complete the project.  Money towards the purchase of the property has been donated and loaned by Warwick residents and Mount Grace Project Manager Paul Daniello is working with neighbors to raise the rest within the community.  “This is a great addition to the Iversen Conservation Area”, says Daniello, “by expanding Iversen, we increase the connections between state forest and other protected lands in town.”

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is a regional land trust that serves 23 towns in Franklin and Worcester counties and is supported by memberships and private, state and federal grants.  It protects significant natural, agricultural and scenic areas and encourages land stewardship in north-central and western Massachusetts for the benefit of the environment, the economy and future generations.  Since 1986, through collaborations and partnerships, Mount Grace has protected more than 21,000 acres.

To reach the trails at the Arthur Iversen Conservation Area, take Route 2A to Route 78 in Orange.  Follow Route 78 north to Warwick center.  Turn right on Athol road, and follow it 0.8 miles to another right on Gale Road.  Continue along Gale Road for 1 mile to the Devil’s Washbowl trail on the right, and another 0.1 miles to the Rum Brook trail on the left.

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