Environmental Victory

In a victory for the environment, a local land trust has permanently protected from development 122 acres of open space in Montague, Massachusetts. Montague borders Greenfield. The land is used to grow organic vegetables at Red Fire Farm. The land trust announced the news on September 12. It has a web site at www.MountGrace.org.

Land trusts use money from the government and private donations to protect farmland, wilderness, and forestland that is sustainably (not clear-cut) logged.

According to www.wilderness.org, "Wilderness is a vital habitat for wildlife.... Without designated wilderness, it would be virtually impossible to ensure the protection of species. Wilderness is a haven from the pressures of our fast-paced society. It provides us with places where we can seek relief from the noise, haste and crowds that too often confine us. It is a place for us to enjoy with friends and families — strengthening our relationships and building lasting memories."

Moose, bears, bobcats, and many kinds of birds are among the wildlife in the Valley's forests. A study by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns found that the towns with the most protected open space had the lowest property taxes. Protecting open space creates jobs for farm workers and loggers, but also for hotel and restaurant workers, since open space attracts tourists.

The below map shows the open space that has been protected in the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts, southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire. 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. Pisgah (New Hampshire) 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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