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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Additional 560 acres of Beaver Brook land to be protected

HOLLIS – Another 560 acres of Beaver Brook land will be permanently protected through conservation easements, adding to the 1,044 already protected.

The Beaver Brook Association Board of Trustees announced the decision Tuesday, which was made with the assistance of the Beaver Brook Association’s Land Protection Committee.

The newest conservation easement will be called “Beaver Brook West,” and extends from Hollis into Brookline south of Route 130 and north of West Hollis Road.

Celeste Philbrick Barr, Beaver Brook director of education and community affairs, said Tuesday that the land is heavily forested and bordered by streams and wetlands.

There are already a number of established trails on the land, which will continue to be used for recreational purposes under the easement. The land is part of the more than 2,000 acres owned by the organization. About 500 acres are not currently under conservation easement.

All of Beaver Brook’s easements are held by the Nichols-Smith Conservation Land Trust, which is responsible for ensuring that all protective restrictions on the land are being upheld by the landowner.

Those restrictions mean the land can only be used for agricultural, conservation and educational activities in the future. The easement is binding on all future owners of the property.

“This easement helps protect an important tract of land, and we look forward to continue working with Beaver Brook Association on the next phase of land protection,” said Gerry Coffey, chairman of the Nichols-Smith Trust.

Beaver Brook long has been dedicated to land protection and focused on these efforts with their Beaver Brook Forever Campaign a few years ago, which helped raise money to fund legal fees and other costs associated with forming conservation easements.

Philbrick Barr said the money is well worth it.

“The good thing is that easement will stay with that land,” she said. “If anything ever happened to Beaver Brook and someone else had to take that land, it still would never be able to be developed.”

The Land Protection Committee already is working on the next round of easements, with the goal of protecting nearly all 2,000 acres.

“We made a commitment to our donors that we would protect the property in perpetuity, and we’ll continue working until that pledge has been met,” said Lorin Rydstrom, vice president of the BBA Trustees, in a press release Tuesday.

Philbrick Barr said it is likely that only the land at Maple Hill Farm, where the Beaver Brook offices are located, will remain without restrictions. This land could be used in the future to build new offices or a new educational facility.

Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or