Land Deal Links Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to Northampton Greenway
Michael P. O'Connor
NORTHAMPTON—Mass Audubon has partnered with the City of Northampton and local landowners to protect more than 50 acres of valuable open space that will connect the conservation organization’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Rocky Hill Greenway.
The land is situated on the wildlife sanctuary’s western boundary and just south of the Greenway, a collaboration between the City and Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit.
The added parcels include 50 acres on two tracts owned by the Goldfarb family real estate firm and another 2.5 acres owned by the O’Brien family of Easthampton. The City will own the property while Mass Audubon will hold a Conservation Restriction, guaranteeing the land can never be developed.
The project, supported by the City, the Beveridge Family Foundation, and Arcadia’s donor-funded land protection fund, features a blend of forest and wetland across a beautiful landscape, including northern hardwoods and white pines as well as vernal pools.
With this conservation success, Mass Audubon and the City have now protected more than 800 acres, including the wildlife sanctuary and the Greenway.
Visitors can explore a growing oasis close to downtown Northampton that supports a broad array of plants and animals; in particular, the newly conserved land will protect a crucial wildlife corridor. It also adds a natural buffer for Arcadia, located in Northampton and Easthampton and the conservation organization’s flagship sanctuary in the Pioneer Valley.
"Partnering with Mass Audubon has allowed us to extend the Rocky Hill Greenway from the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to the State Hospital Agriculture Lands, protecting forever critical wildlife habitat and a wildlife corridor,” Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz said.
“At the same time, this partnership allowed us to carve out five acres for economic development or other municipal uses,” Narkewicz added. “This project serves multiple community needs."
“We value our history of conservation partnership with the City of Northampton and we salute Mayor Narkewicz and his administration for taking a leadership role in preserving the Rocky Hill Greenway,” Mass Audubon President Gary Clayton said. “And we are especially grateful to the O’Brien family for its commitment to this important land protection project.”
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.