Much of McAvoy Pond now under conservation easement

  • About three-quarters of the 25-acre McAvoy Pond and surrounding forest in Wendell is being protected with a conservation easement. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/5/2021 3:22:54 PM

WENDELL — About three-quarters of the 25-acre McAvoy Pond and surrounding forest will be protected, now that property owners Ray and Laurie DiDonato worked with the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust to secure a conservation easement prohibiting development.

The DiDonatos have lived on the pond for 12 years and purchased the newly-protected parcel two years ago.

Ray DiDonato said he and his wife approached Mount Grace, having worked with the trust on a land protection project years ago.

“I support their conservation efforts,” he said. “They seemed like a good match for us for what we wanted to accomplish for the land.”

DiDonato explained the easement limits development. He said hunting, fishing, hiking, nature studies, forest stewardship and agriculture will be allowed. The easement also allows for nonpermanent garden sheds and hunting stands and blinds.

“We think the pond supports an abundance of different wildlife species. It’s a very special place and we felt that it was important to, basically, just preserve its future rather than have it be developed.”

He said the parcel supports at least 30 bird species.

A press release from the conservation trust states heron, beaver, turtles and salamanders can be seen at McAvoy Pond, which was mapped as likely to be resilient and maintain high levels of biodiversity over time by the North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership’s Strategic Biodiversity Conservation Mapping Project.

“Protecting land is the best way that we can ensure that wildlife can survive and adapt, even as climate change impacts our natural communities,” Executive Director Emma Ellsworth said.

The Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust has helped local landowners and farmers protect hundreds of acres of land in Erving, Royalston, Templeton and Winchendon, and is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2021.

“I encourage everyone interested in making a difference for our region’s natural and working lands to make a year-end gift,” Ellsworth said.

Donations can be made online at or by mailing a check to Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, 1461 Old Keene Road, Athol, MA 01331.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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