Environmental Victory

Forestland and wetlands have been saved. In Northampton, 84 acres alongside Fitzgerald Lake will soon be protected against pavers. In Belchertown, which borders Amherst, 100 acres were recently saved thanks to a unanimous vote by the townspeople at this year’s Town Meeting. “The last step is to finalize a Conservation Restriction over the (Northampton) land, which will be held by Kestrel Land Trust,” Kristin DeBoer told the Valley Post on December 20. She is director of the Trust www.KestrelTrust.org. Money for the deal came from the city of Northampton and other sources.

The vast majority of land in the Valley is still unprotected and vulnerable to being paved with roads, parking lots, “McMansion” vacation homes that are usually vacant, Wal-Marts, and other so-called “development.”

Between 1982 and 2000, the Connecticut River Valley lost 27 percent of its farmland to development.

In the 25 years ending in 2007, Massachusetts lost 85,700 acres of farmland to development. That’s according to the most recent Census of Agriculture by the federal government.

More information about land use in the Valley – including a map of protected land -- is at:

www.ValleyPost.org/node/137

Groups working to save open space in the Valley have web sites at www.vlt.org and www.MonadnockConservancy.org.

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