The Nature Conservancy Announces Protection of 104 Acres in Middlefield
The land is within a large area of intact forest and helps protect the Westfield River.
MIDDLEFIELD, MA | November 25, 2013
The protected area around one of southern New England’s most pristine river systems has grown, with The Nature Conservancy’s acquisition of 104 acres in Middlefield.
The Conservancy had identified the primarily wooded land—a 55-acre tract and a 49-acre tract, both in the Westfield River watershed—as critical to protect because of its location within a large area of intact high-quality forest. Such forests help provide the state and region with clean air and water and vital wildlife habitat.
The land borders a 31-acre parcel owned by the Conservancy and creates a corridor of protected land that has Factory Brook as its western boundary. Factory Brook is a tributary to the West Branch of the Westfield River.
The Nature Conservancy, the state and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers program have recognized the Westfield River as one of the most intact river systems in southern New England, and one of the healthiest tributaries to the Connecticut River.
The clear, cold, swift-flowing tributaries and intact river corridors in the upper Westfield watershed—which includes Factory Brook—provide critical habitat for rare fish and dragonfly species and many are designated as important ‘Coldwater Fishery Resources’ by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
“This sale is historic in that this land has been part of the Pease family since my grandparents bought it just after they were married,” said Myrtle (Pease) Richardson, whose family owned the 49-acre tract. “I remember visiting ‘the cider lot,’ as it used to be called, and picking blueberries here with my mother when it was all open fields. The Pease/Richardson families are pleased to have worked with The Nature Conservancy to conserve an area so rich in natural beauty that will serve as a tribute to the family’s historic legacy in the area.”
Markelle Smith, land protection specialist for The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts said the Conservancy is grateful to the properties’ owners. The Conservancy also is pleased that portions of both tracts with homes on them will remain in private, family ownership.
“Thanks to the property owners’ foresight and conservation values, we’ve been able to protect more than 1,100 feet of frontage on Factory Brook, along with many acres of intact forest that surround it,” Smith said. “People will be able to enjoy and reap the benefits of this additional open space in such a special place for generations to come.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org