In a secluded part of western Massachusetts, a hidden valley along a brook in Warwick was recently acquired by Mass Audubon. Adjacent to the Warwick State Forest, this 140-acre property has been on the wish-list since 2004 when a neighbor to the north, Nick Arguimbau, generously donated a Conservation Restriction to Mass Audubon on his 30+ acres which include a section of Gales Brook.
Nick also gave Mass Audubon startup funds to be used to extend protection of the Gales Brook from his property southward. The newly purchased property increases protection of the Gales Brook stream corridor by over 5,000 linear feet.
The property has steep slopes and rocky outcroppings, and contains habitat for rare and endangered species. Conservation preserves this ecologically significant natural area, designated as BioMap2 Critical Natural Landscape by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) of the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game, and rated as highly resilient to the impacts of climate change. Protection of the property will also assist wildlife movement because of its extensive connection to Warwick State Forest.
This area is a high priority in the Quabbin to Cardigan (Q2C) Regional Conservation Partnership because it is entirely located in the Core Focus Connectivity area. Q2C is a collaborative landscape-scale effort of 27 private organizations and public agencies to conserve the a 50+ mile contiguous corridor between the Quabbin watershed conservation holdings and Mount Cardigan in New Hampshire.
Importantly, when the owners were considering possible development of the property, longtime conservationist and former land agent for MA Fish & Game—Sam Lovejoy—got involved and persuaded them to sell to Mass Audubon for permanent conservation instead. We are very grateful to Sam for his volunteer advocacy for conservation in this instance (and others).