Land trust expands nature preserves
The Roxbury Land Trust has announced it recently expanded two of its nature preserves through the acquisition of two separate properties totaling nearly 60 acres.
The expansions were made possible by bequests from both Joan M. McMahan and Ruth Johnson.
These donors bequeathed funds to the land trust that were designated exclusively for land acquisition.
RLT relies on donations, grants, member support, and gifts of land to pursue its mission.
“By preserving these properties, the land trust fulfills its mission to preserve open space, allow for passive recreational activities, protect the environment including waterways, and maintain Roxbury’s rural heritage,” said Julie Steers, the non-profit organization’s volunteer president.
“We were very strategic about using bequests from our generous donors for land that enhances our existing preserves,” she added.
Additional trails are planned for a 37.4-acre property, formerly owned by Ann Oberkirch, which is contiguous to the River Road Preserve, connecting to the already extensive trail system that links four of RLT’s properties: River Road, Orzech, Golden Harvest and Erbacher Preserves.
Conserving this parcel will protect water quality by establishing an important buffer for wetlands and intermittent streams leading to the Shepaug River.
The 22.2-acre property, formerly owned by Michael Shapot and Chaye Zuckerman Shapot, will connect to the McMahan Preserve and expand the wildlife habitat of the rugged, wooded area, as both preserves are true open space properties currently without trails.
The Roxbury Land Trust has preserved 3,764 acres of farmland, woodlands, watercourses, wetlands and open space in Roxbury and neighboring communities since it was established in 1970.
The land trust maintains 32 preserves with 30 miles of hiking trails and three active farms, as well as offers a wide range of educational programs.