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Celebrating Ten Years on the Tully Trail

August 28, 2009 | Athol, MA

For Immediate Release

For information please contact
Jay Rasku,
North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership Coordinator
(978) 248-2118
info@partnership.org

or
David Kotker,
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust Membership Coordinator
(978) 248-2055 x19 or
kotker@mountgrace.org

 

Community Marks Ten Years on the Tully Trail

ORANGE - Conservation partners ranging from state agencies to community based land trusts and trail volunteers met today in the Tully Mountain Wildlife Management Area to celebrate the tenth summer of the Tully Trail, a 22-mile loop which links together many of the area’s prominent natural landmarks.  “The tenth anniversary reminds us what the cooperation of local, state, and federal government can achieve when working together with private citizens and a fantastic land trust,” said Bob Durand, who was Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs during the Tully Initiative, “the land protection work inspired by this trail continues to support the working forests and rich biodiversity that exist in the Tully Valley today.”

Standing in front of the BioReserve Boulder, Durand addressed a crowd including hikers who began the day with a walk along several miles of the trail over the summit of Tully Mountain.  The event continued with an open house at Gale Farm, an ongoing project of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, The Conservation Fund, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation that protects 72 acres abutting the trail.

Endorsed in 1997 as the second project of the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, the trail was designed to provide an exceptional hiking experience while showcasing different conservation methods, including state forests, wildlife management areas, commercially managed forests, and privately protected areas.  “The Department of Fish and Game and our Division of Fisheries and Wildlife are proud to be one of many partners who have worked to protect habitat in the North Quabbin region and establish the Tully Trail,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin. “The Tully Trail passes through conservation properties managed by state agencies and several conservation organizations, offering excellent hiking, scenic values, and wildlife observation opportunities for species such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, raccoon, woodcock, songbirds, amphibians and other wildlife.”

Running past Tully Mountain, Tully Lake, Jacobs Ridge, the Royalston and Warwick state forests, and Doanes, Spirit and Royalston Falls, the loop also briefly joins the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, recently named the New England National Scenic Trail.

“The trail connected existing conservation areas into a recreation destination that became more than the sum of its parts,” said Mount Grace Director Leigh Youngblood, “even ten years later, Mount Grace still takes an active role in protecting the local landscape around the trail with projects like Gale Farm.”

The trail helped inspire increased land protection efforts like the Tully Initiative, in which the Commonwealth, Mount Grace, and other conservation groups acquired development rights to more than 9,000 acres.  “The Tully Trail is an excellent example of how conservation and recreation interests can work so effectively together,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Rick Sullivan. “Long-distance trails, like the Tully Trail, can help rally support for large scale land conservation initiatives, and in turn, landscape conservation provides exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation of all kinds.  DCR is working to enhance our trails initiatives within our own state parks and forests, and continues to support partnership efforts, like the Tully Trail, through assistance and funding such as our Recreational Trails Grants program.”

Much of the land protected during the Tully Initiative was selected to link together existing protected lands in the area, providing a protected core for the North Quabbin BioReserve, more than 55,000 acres of protected land stretching from Northfield to Winchendon.  The BioReserve anchors the “Quabbin to Cardigan” initiative, which aims to conserve important forest resources from the Quabbin Reservoir to Mount Cardigan, New Hampshire. “Since its establishment in December of 2002, land conservation efforts have added 1,600 acres of land in the North Quabbin BioReserve.  We hope that a renewed focus on this important landscape will allow willing landowners to conserve additional working forests, farms, and natural areas that make this area so unique.” noted North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership Coordinator Jay Rasku.

Tully Trail partners include the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Harvard Forest, the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership, the National Parks Service, North Quabbin Woods, the New England Forestry Foundation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Trustees of Reservations, who manage, and maintain, most of the trail.  If you are interested in becoming a Tully Trail Steward, please contact Walker Korby at wkorby@ttor.org or 978-248-9455.  For information about the Gale Farm conservation project contact Nathan Rudolph at 978-248-2055 x18 or rudolph@mountgrace.org.

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