Mass Audubon Reaches Summit As It Protects Patten Hill Property in Shelburne
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA.—Mass Audubon’s goal to secure 67 acres of field and forest at Patten Hill in Shelburne has been realized, as the state’s largest nature conservation organization and the land’s longtime owners signed final documents Tuesday, February 16.
Thanks to more than 300 generous supporters, Mass Audubon reached its fundraising goal of $442,000 in December to save the spectacular hilltop expanse. We are also grateful to the Franklin Land Trust, which will hold the Conservation Restriction on the property.
“Successfully completing the purchase/protection of the Patten Hill property is a major conservation victory for us—one that would not have been possible without the help of hundreds of donors and our longtime partner, the Franklin Land Trust,” Mass Audubon Director of Land Conservation Bob Wilber said.
“In addition to the spectacular long-distance views that are now protected for future generations to marvel at,” Wilber noted, “protecting this land will help plants and animals be more resilient to the impacts of climate change by connecting large blocks of existing conservation lands.”
Now that the deal has closed, the land will never be developed. The addition of this property brings Mass Audubon's High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary to 855 acres and expands the overall protected open space in the area, which also includes the undeveloped 574-acre Shelburne Falls Fire District land (a public water supply property) and the 221-acre Davenport Farm.
As Mass Audubon emphasizes addressing the impacts of a warming planet organization wide, saving Patten Hill has been identified as a prime example of climate-resilient land.
Among the characteristics of such landscapes is the opportunity for wildlife to move easily when rising temperatures lead to changing habitats. Patten Hill now becomes a crucial link in one such land corridor amid a conservation mosaic of more than a thousand contiguous acres.
The beautiful landscape overlooking the Deerfield River Valley offers a 360-degree panorama: the state’s highest peak, Mount Greylock, to the west; Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire to the east; Mount Tom in the Connecticut River Valley to the south; and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the north.
In addition to the long-distance views, Patten Hill contains important grassland bird habitat, fields and forest, and a stream corridor that includes a series of beaver ponds. Mass Audubon is already planning how best to welcome visitors to this beautiful addition to High Ledges, including trails and signage.
To support Mass Audubon land protection opportunities and to learn more, please visit massaudubon.org/landconservation.
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.