Published on January 11, 2023

Strategic 101-Acre Parcel Added to Conserved Land in Wendell

Woods as part of the 101-acre parcel

This rolling, forested parcel was protected through a partnership of Mass Audubon and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Watershed Protection Division. 

The landowners, James and Karen Killay, live in Templeton and have used the property for passive recreation and have carefully harvested timber from its gentle west-facing slopes. They logged the land every 10 or so years, and used it as a place for hiking and camping. Like many long-time landowners, they reached a point in their lives where they wanted to make a change. They decided to sell the land and finding a conservation buyer made the prospect even more attractive.  DCR and Mass Audubon were interested in the land because of its size and location abutting other protected land. The property is within the Quabbin Reservoir watershed area, a DCR priority, and is close to Mass Audubon’s Whetstone Wood Wildlife Sanctuary.

Orange peel fungus

Jim and Karen Killay said they were pleased to sell their 101 acres of woodland in Wendell to Mass Audubon. They explained, “Sixty years ago, Jim, a forward-thinking young man, and an avid outdoorsman, purchased a ‘wood lot’ in Wendell, to preserve a substantial tract of land for conservation, as well as for personal use. Over the course of ownership, we have had the land logged with selective cutting, the management overseen by licensed foresters, contributing to the long-term health of the acreage. For several decades, the land has also been protected under [Massachusetts Forest Tax Program] Chapter 61. Now, being seniors, we knew the time had come to turn over stewardship of this wonderful property to an entity that would continue its preservation. Selling to Mass Audubon was a slam dunk.”

The Killay land is undeveloped and primarily forested with no sign of invasive species. Because of the parcel’s connection to adjacent protected land, it will bolster the ability of wildlife to move through the landscape—a priority in our conservation work given the pressure climate change puts on species to find more suitable habitat.