SAM Partners with Land Trust to Protect Trail in Northfield
Published on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 in Environment, News & Updates
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One of the most important north-south snowmobile trail corridors in Northfield is one step closer to permanent protection thanks to a partnership between landowners Bill and Nancy Ames, the Northfield Snowmobile Club, the Town of Northfield, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, and the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts (SAM).

Bill and Nancy Ames own 145 acres of woods, agricultural fields and wetlands that slope up from the picturesque Connecticut River farmlands to the side of Beers Mountain. During the course of the year, the property sees a lot of activity.


Local farmer Bill Llewelyn of Five Point Farm, Northfield’s only dairy farm, mows 2,000 bales of hay each year from the Ames’ 19 acres of hayfields. The nearby woods include stands of oak and plentiful white pine and are managed for timber production. The forest edges provide shelter for the animals that forage in the open fields and a thriving beaver population has created two ponds set in wetlands that teem with bird and animal life.

For decades the Northfield Snowmobile Club has used and maintained a trail on the property that provides a critical north-south corridor for riders.

Thanks to their conservation vision, Bill and Nancy Ames wish to permanently protect the farm by placing a conservation restriction (CR) on 142 acres of their property. A CR allows the landowners to continue to own the property and enjoy the land, but permanently prevents development. In this case, the CR will also include a provision to allow the use and maintenance of the snowmobile trail in perpetuity.


Peter Blake of the Northfield Snowmobile Club

Thanks to a generous donation by the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts, the project is one step closer to reality. “We are thrilled to be working with the Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts, Peter Blake of the Northfield Snowmobile Club, and the Town of Northfield to help the Ames family protect this significant property,” said Jay Rasku, Land Conservation Director with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. “This project will enable snowmobile enthusiasts to have access to the trail on the property for generations to come. And we look forward to working with riders to secure other important trail resources across in North Central and Western Massachusetts.”

In addition, the conservation of the Ames family land – to be named Alderbrook Meadow Sanctuary – will involve the creation of a loop trail designed specifically to be wheelchair-accessible. The trail will invite the public to an observation deck at the pond and will provide places to sit and enjoy (and learn about) nature.

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