46 acres protected from development in Ashfield

A new conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust will protect 46 acres of land, located along the north side of Beldingville Road in Ashfield, from future development and subdivision.

A new conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust will protect 46 acres of land, located along the north side of Beldingville Road in Ashfield, from future development and subdivision. Contributed Photo/Alain Peteroy

A new conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust will protect 46 acres of land, located along the north side of Beldingville Road in Ashfield, from future development and subdivision.

A new conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust will protect 46 acres of land, located along the north side of Beldingville Road in Ashfield, from future development and subdivision. Contributed Photo/Alain Peteroy

Staff Report

Published: 12-21-2023 11:48 AM

ASHFIELD — A new conservation restriction held by the Franklin Land Trust will protect 46 acres of land owned by Ashfield resident Peter Corens from future development and subdivision.

According to the Franklin Land Trust, the property, located along the north side of Beldingville Road, has significant ecological value, including more than 40 acres of farmland soils of statewide importance and more than 1,000 feet of frontage along the Bear River, a coldwater fisheries resource. There is also 1,200 feet of frontage along an unnamed tributary to the Bear River that bisects the property. According to the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, there are nearly 40 acres of “Priority Habitats of Rare Species” along the property connected to the Bear River ecosystem.

The conservation restriction, recorded on Nov. 20, is part of a larger conservation effort in the area, as the property abuts more than 400 acres of privately owned farmland, forests, wildlife habitat and water resources that have been conserved. This 46 acres is currently used for agriculture and cattle grazing.

In the 1990s, Corens recognized the significance of conserving the bucolic landscape, significant habitat and natural beauty of the historic neighborhood. He worked with the Franklin Land Trust to place an initial conservation restriction on 43 acres, making him one of the earliest landowners to conserve land with the Franklin Land Trust.

In the time since, Corens has continued to conserve undeveloped land in the Beldingville Road neighborhood through the purchase of land and the conveyance of seven more conservation restrictions to the land trust. Counting this latest effort, Corens and his wife, Janet Castleman, have helped protect more than 400 acres, according to the Franklin Land Trust.

The conserved parcels remain in private ownership and on the tax rolls, while the Franklin Land Trust’s stewardship staff and volunteers will ensure compliance with the reserved rights and uses of the property and provide land management support.

The conservation of these parcels permanently ensures that the land will be used for continued agriculture, forestry, watershed protection and wildlife habitat, according to the Franklin Land Trust. These conservation restrictions also play a role in preserving the Bear River’s coldwater fisheries, including native brook trout, which are at risk from climate change.

“We are very grateful to Peter Corens for his generous gift,” Mary Lynn Sabourin, executive director of the Franklin Land Trust, said in a statement. “Mr. Corens wanted to ensure that this land remains intact and productive for the future. His donation will benefit not only the wildlife and water quality of the Bear River watershed, but also the scenic and rural character of Ashfield.”

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