FRAMINGHAM, MA – The City of Framingham and Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) are pleased to announce the City has received a LAND (Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity) grant for $217,600 from the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. This grant supports the conservation of Wayside Forest, over 50 acres of priority habitat off Wayside Inn Road in Framingham that the City and SVT are partnering to protect. This grant will enable the City of Framingham to purchase a perpetual Conservation Restriction on the land.
"We are pleased with the state's confidence in Framingham, to put these funds to work," said Art Robert, Framingham's Director of Community and Economic Development. "Our perpetual Conservation Restriction will ensure this beautiful and intact space remains open and publicly accessible today, and for future generations."
A Conservation Restriction is designed to permanently protect the conservation values of a property by defining allowed uses. In addition, SVT is raising funds to purchase and provide long-term stewardship for the property. The landowners have offered to sell the property for about half of its market value to ensure it is maintained as conservation land and can never be developed.
“We are incredibly grateful to landowners George and DD Harrington for providing us this opportunity to protect a very important piece of land and for their generosity,” said Christa Collins, Director of Land Protection for Sudbury Valley Trustees. “We have already seen a tremendous outpouring of support for the project and hope to meet our fundraising goal by the end of June, the deadline for completing the purchase.”
Wayside Forest is valuable as conservation land because of its proximity to other protected land providing uninterrupted woodlands and quality habitat for wildlife. Vernal pools provide habitat for endangered four-toed salamanders, and the mix of woodland and wetland on the property is ideal for the eastern box turtle, currently a species of special concern. In addition, the properties will provide publicly accessible trails.
Sudbury Valley Trustees is a regional land trust, protecting and caring for land and wildlife habitat in 36 communities surrounding the Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury Rivers. Donations to the Wayside Forest project can be made at www.svtweb.org\waysideforest.