SAVE OUR WOODS
LAND CONSERVATION CAMPAIGN
Conserving a natural ‘green corridor’ from northwest Essex through Manchester to Gloucester and beyond is the goal of the 5 million dollar campaign for Land Conservation.
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That the woodlands you hike and the water resources you rely upon are gone forever. Where nature once prevailed, houses, parking lots, and streetlights have become a reality.
A completed continuous wildlife corridor for all to enjoy, where trees, understory, salamanders, turtles, and vernal pools will flourish.
The pristine woodlands and natural spaces within Manchester and Essex give our community its essential character. Over its 60-year history, MECT has done much to ensure the ongoing protection of these valuable assets. And yet, these properties are under renewed threats from inappropriate development. Pandemic-related pressures have driven developers large and small to seek opportunities to build housing and commercial projects on top of this important green corridor. At the same time, properties that were previously not for sale are suddenly in play. This combination puts all our prior conservation efforts at risk, making action more important now than in decades.
PROTECT OUR LAND
A core strategy to protect what we have is to expand existing perimeters with the acquisition of buffer properties and environmentally significant land wherever possible before these parcels are irrevocably altered. When necessary, we also use legal action and other means in defense of land under our stewardship.
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THE TIME IS NOW
NOW is the moment for MECT to accelerate acquisitions to keep ahead of this surge in development.
MECT HAS IMPACT
Sixty years of measured and consistent effort has resulted in the permanent protection of over 1500 acres of land in Manchester and Essex. No other organization cares more about your backyard than we do.
- Preserves in perpetuity the natural resources that sustain us.
- Protects the natural spaces that give our community its essential character.
- Provides the quiet sanctuary – undisturbed outdoor spaces that afford an intimate connection with nature – enhancing the health and well-being of all.
- Protects an important wildlife corridor that is critical to preserving Cape Ann’s biological richness and diversity.
- Demonstrates the value of conservation to a community of individuals who have the power to affect change globally, while setting an example for the next generation.
Manchester Essex Conservation Trust preserves in perpetuity the natural beauty, wildlife habitat, and open space resources in our two towns and adjacent communities.
We protect this land through acquisitions, conservation restrictions, donations, and engagement with the public. Through sharing this land, we encourage and support the exploration of nature, education, and scientific study.
1963 Land Conserved
Over its 60-year history, MECT has made great strides toward protecting a contiguous wildlife corridor. Such corridors are recognized by scientists as critical for habitat quality and the preservation of biodiversity. The initial inspiration for conservation was the greenway near the newly constructed Rt. 128, to preserve habitat for wildlife, and the natural beauty and cool corridor of the Cathedral Pines.
1995 Land Conserved
Our founders worked tirelessly to identify the ownership of the undeveloped land which was divided into small parcels, like a mosaic, and passed down through generations. They contributed their own resources and raised funds to conserve many of those parcels. The founders and volunteers also worked with the Town of Manchester, and other conservation organizations to identify and protect numerous other parcels of land along the northern boundary of Manchester. As word spread and ownership research progressed, they expanded their conservation efforts into Essex.
2021 Land Conserved
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what the area might have looked like without the intense conservation and land defense efforts. Picture a major power transmission line bisecting the entire corridor to provide Gloucester with power, which was fought off, and extensive developments throughout the area instead of the vast wilderness corridor.
2021 Land Conserved by MECT and others
Today MECT continues to research land ownership in both towns, through deeds, probate and genealogical records. We hire surveyors and title examiners to confirm the location and ownership of some of the numerous parcels of unknown ownership, with the intention of getting the land permanently protected. We work with partner organizations and the town governments whenever we can.
What we can achieve, together
The goal of the Save our Woods campaign is to raise five million dollars to protect MECT’s land from escalating development and build out our green corridor while we still can. Adjacent lands, and the water and wildlife they shelter, are under tremendous pressure and the opportunities we have now are likely to be fleeting.
Your Gift TODAY Conserves Land Tomorrow!
Current Land Acquisition Projects:
Manchester, 25 Crooked Lane: Permanently preserves much-needed public access to the Manchester “Western Woods” south of Route 128, along with access points to Hemlock Glen, Owl’s Nest and Laurel Ledge trails. Vernal pools and portions of Beckett stream are now permanently protected. The Western Woods are part of the watershed that supports drinking water in the region. Status: Purchased in 2022
Manchester, Woodland Parcels (6): Permanently preserving a total of 20 acres within the “Western Woods” with existing hiking and mountain biking trails, featuring bald ledges, streams, and vernal pools as well as a hilltop view of the Atlantic Ocean. Status: Under Agreement with a Closing Date in the Spring 2023.
Essex, Woodlands, Rocky Hill Road parcels (4): Permanently preserving a total of 20 acres which abut the unpaved portion of Rocky Hill Road to the north, and to the south. The Caesar’s Way footpath crosses these parcels, which have had a high development threat for decades. Passersby may not realize that this is privately-owned land, and development would drastically alter the wildlife habitat, and peace and quiet of the entire area. Status: Under Agreement Please help us close the funding gap. Click here for more information.
Essex, Woodlands, East of Southern Avenue: We are researching the conservation and recreation values of several parcels that are part of an existing hiking and mountain bike trail network, and communicating with land owners. Status: Ongoing Discussions and Research
Land acquisition projects
Current Land Defense Projects:
Manchester, Shingle Place Hill: While out of the headlines and public view, MECT is still defending the wetland, stream, and forest health of abutting conservation land from the development of a large 136-unit 40B on Shingle Place Hill through the state Housing Appeals Committee process. Our board of trustees voted unanimously in September 2022 to continue our efforts to protect Shingle Place Hill, in coordination with the town of Manchester, and other organizations seeking appropriate affordable housing. Click here for more information
Land defense projects