Mass Audubon, partners protect 53-acre Littlewood property in Warwick

  • A scenic view from the recently conserved Littlewood property nestled within the Warwick State Forest. Contributed photo/Mass Audubon

Staff Report
Published: 11/14/2021 3:00:14 PM

WARWICK — Mass Audubon has protected the 53-acre “Littlewood property” that is nestled within the Warwick State Forest.

The conservation project was completed in partnership with the Athol-based Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust; the towns of Warwick, Orange and Royalston; and state agencies MassWildlife and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Named after the longtime owners, the Littlewood property’s conservation is part of the Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project conducted in collaboration with Mount Grace, which will protect 13 parcels spread across 750 acres in the three municipalities. According to a Mass Audubon press release, this latest acquisition provides Mass Audubon with easier access to its Brush Valley Wildlife Sanctuary just west, enabling that sanctuary to be opened to the public and providing improved access for its maintenance.

The Littlewood property will ultimately be transferred to Warwick and serve as a Town Forest, with Mass Audubon retaining access rights, according to the release. Protecting the 53 acres will increase the ecological value of the Gales Brook project, including further ensuring water and air protections, strengthening biodiversity, and aiding wildlife movement by connecting open space.

Land to the north and south of the Littlewood property was protected in 2001 and 2002, the release states. Bradley Compton of the Warwick Trails Group noted that reminders of the property’s recent timber history — including a log landing that will become a parking area and a clearing with a northwesterly view toward the Green Mountains — will become public visitation elements.

“The Littlewood lot will be a great focal point for the trail network in the Gales Brook valley,” Compton explained in the release. “The landing makes for a fine parking area and trailhead. The view from the knoll is spectacular. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep some of the view open as the forest regrows.”

“Warwick is such an extremely heavily forested town that any trail that includes a dramatic scenic view is a much-appreciated addition,” noted Mary Williamson, a member of Warwick’s Open Space Committee and Conservation Commission.

With a recent update of the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, effective until 2027, and formation of the Warwick Trails Group in 2020, Williamson said there is new impetus in town to expand Warwick’s trail system. She also said that both the Open Space Committee and Conservation Commission are excited about acquiring the Littlewood property.

“The parcel offers such good potential for both forestry and recreation,” she explained in the release. “Warwick currently owns several parcels of Town Forest, which are actively managed by the Town’s Forest Committee.”

Since the 53-acre Littlewood parcel is large enough to be suitable for forest management, Williamson added that “the town is very thankful for the Landscape Partnership grant, which is making it possible to acquire a new piece of forest without expenditure on the part of the town.”


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