Special Projects – 203 Pond Street
The Friends of Upton State Forest has joined with the Sudbury Valley Trustees, Friends of Whitehall, the Hopkinton Area Land Trust, the Bay State Trail Riders Association (BSTRA), and New England Mountain Bikers Associaton (NEMBA) to form the Whitehall Woods Alliance, which seeks to permanently protect 40 acres of land on 203 Pond Street in Hopkinton. The land has been approved by the Hopkinton Planning Board for a 12-lot open space subdivision, but given the property’s location between the Whitehall Reservoir and the Upton State Forest, among other attributes, many feel that it warrants full preservation.
The Hopkinton Selectboard voted on January 29 to hold a special Town Meeting on March 3 to allow voters to decide whether the Town should exercise its right of first refusal and purchase the property at 203 Pond Street. A ballot vote will follow on March 10.
A significant commitment of private funds towards the purchase price will make it more likely that Hopkinton voters will approve the purchase. The FUSF Board of Directors has already pledged $1000.00 from our funds and ask that you join us in pledging a personal donation.
The Division of Conservation and Recreation has committed $250,000 toward the $2 million acquisition price, but the rest will need to come from other soures. The Whitehall Woods Alliance has committed to raising $150,000 to offset the cost to the town, and has raised over $70,000 to date. Please consider making a donation or pledge to preserve this important parcel. For more information or to make a pledge or donation, click here.
For more information about the project and the latest news about upcoming meetings visit Whitehall Woods Alliance website.
If you’re interested in helping to protect this beautiful property, please contact Steve Warren of the Whitehall Woods Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christa Collins, Director of Land Protection at the Sudbury Valley Trustees, at 978-443-5588 x115.
203 Pond Street sits between 1,357 acres of the Upton State Forest and 815 acres of the Whitehall State Park. The Upton State Forest in turn connects to local conservation land in Upton and Grafton, creating a block of over 3,125 acres of protected land, and many miles of connecting trails.
Other benefits of protecting this beautiful property include the following:
- Support of the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan goals: 203 Pond Street is shown as an “area of conservation and recreation interest” on the 2009 Action Plan Map, and ranked highest among properties evaluated for open space benefits in a 1997 study.
- Balancing Growth: Protection of the Pond Street property would create a counterbalance to significant growth in other parts of town. According to MassAudubon’s 2009 “Losing Ground” report, Hopkinton lies solidly in Massachusetts’ “sprawl frontier”, with between 10.4 and 17 acres of new development per square mile between 1999 and 2005. Hopkinton ranked 12th in the top 20 towns with the highest rate of development during that period.
- Role in linking existing conservation lands: The property’s location makes it ideal for linking these two sizable areas, creating extensive recreation opportunities for walkers, hikers, bikers, and equestrians, and also preserving an important wildlife corridor and watershed protection area. It will also provide needed parking and pedestrian access from Pond Street to Upton State Forest.
- Proximity to sensitive habitat: 203 Pond Street acts as an important buffer for adjacent, state-designated Priority Habitat for an Endangered Species. The property also abuts the Miscoe-Warren-Whitehall Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
- Provides habitat for numerous plants and animals. Click here for a species list compiled by Kathleen Regan, a resident of Hopkinton and a Teacher Naturalist with Mass Audubon.
Photo credits: Ellen Arnold