Published on June 4, 2014

High Priority Habitat Added to High Ledges

The view from the ledges
©Richard Johnson

On June 2, thanks to donations from scores of generous contributors, Mass Audubon purchased 53 acres for addition to our High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne.

A developer had recently acquired much of the forested west-facing slope below the ledges, which overlook the Deerfield River as it makes a dramatic U-turn just above Shelburne Falls. The property had long been an identified priority in the sanctuary’s land protection plan, as the presence of limestone bedrock contributes to nutrient-rich soils that support a variety of unusual species.

Fortunately, the developer agreed to sell us the most significant portion of the property. But to take advantage of the opportunity, we needed to raise $80,000 by June 1. Thanks to generous lead gifts from the Biber Foundation and Wharton Trust, and timely donations from more than 70 individuals, we met that deadline, and the land is now owned by Mass Audubon.

In the coming weeks we’ll post the boundaries, record corners with GPS, and amend our sanctuary maps. Later we’ll do a more extensive biological inventory and incorporate the findings into the sanctuary’s ecological assessment and management plan. And we’ll remember with thanks the outpouring of support that made this latest important addition to the sanctuary possible.