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Swath of forest land near Quabbin permanently protected

January 10, 2021 GMT

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — More than 2,000 acres of forest land near the Quabbin Reservoir is being permanently protected.

State officials recently announced the creation of the Walter Cowls Jones Working Forest, which supplements the 3,486-acre Paul C. Jones Working Forest and will serve to protect water supplies locally and for Boston, preserve extensive wildlife habitat and promote continued production of timber, The Recorder of Greenfield reported.

The conservation restriction was purchased for $3.34 million, or $100,000 less than the appraised value, with public funding coming from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, U.S. Forest Legacy Program and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, as well as private funds raised by Kestrel Land Trust from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation and other philanthropists.

The parcels in Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett, will continue to be owned and managed by the W.D. Cowls land management and development company, but the conservation restriction precludes future development, including residences, solar arrays, and cell and wind towers.

It requires sustainable forestry practices and assures public access to the land for hiking, hunting and fishing.