Environmental Victories

Activists in the Valley who have fought to save the environment are seeing their work pay off. Government money that exists because of their work is being used to protect land near Keene, Northampton, and Brattleboro. “It's 182 acres of land along and around the West Cliff trail,” Emily McAdoo told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on December 28. She is on the board of the Putney Mountain Association, which “recently signed purchase and sale agreements” for the land in Brookline, Vermont, near Brattleboro, according to a letter from the group's president to its members.

The Monadnock Conservancy in Keene got $1.2 million on December 21 from the federal government to save farmland in New Hampshire near Keene and Brattleboro, especially farms along the Ashuelot, Connecticut and Contoocook rivers. The money must be spent by 2021. The Conservancy said it would save at least 1,000 acres with the money, and another 1,700 or more acres with state money and private donations.

In Amherst, the Kestrel Trust “conserved or secured funding to protect more than 1,000 acres across the Valley” this year, according to a December 23 e-mail from the group's director, Kristin DeBoer. The group saved 52 acres in Pelham, Massachusetts, which borders Amherst, and a 128 acre piece of land that is in the Massachusetts towns of Williamsburg and Hatfield, both of which border Northampton.

The below map of the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts, southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire shows that the vast majority of the farmland and forestland is vulnerable to being converted to houses, roads, parking lots, and Walmart stores and similar commercial buildings. The map was current as of 2015.

Click on the map to enlarge it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." Then click on the map again to enlarge it more. You can move the image using the arrows on your keyboard.

For a sense of scale, Pisgah state park can be seen on the map. Is is the biggest protected area that is both east of Brattleboro and southwest of Keene. It is about 13,300 acres.


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