RICHMOND LAND TRUST
Richmond, Massachusetts 01254
Richmond Land Trust
President - John Keenum
Contact us by
Phone (413) 698-3898
Mail PO Box 21
Richmond, MA 01254
John Keenum, President
Ruth Bass, Vice President
Christopher Magee, Secretary
John Mason, Treasurer
Richmond Land Trust
Copyright 2013. Richmond Land Trust. All Rights Reserved.
Board of Directors
To help preserve important lands in the Town of Richmond and to provide guidance for planned development in harmony with the traditional, rural and scenic character of the town.
The Richmond Land Trust was born in an East Road living room on a cold night in February 1989. Various lands in Richmond were either on the market or about to be, and a few residents were concerned about whether the town should be protecting certain of them from development. The group discussed goals and agreed to inform public officials of its plans. The handwriting was on the wall in Richmond.
Since its founding the Trust has become a 501(c)(3) public charity and has worked steadily to preserve the rural character of Richmond through the conservation of 912 acres of open space. Twenty parcels, totaling 200 acres, were protected by donations and purchases, and another eight properties, totaling 712 acres, were preserved through conservation restrictions. The Trust has no paid staff and still remains an all-volunteer organization.
In the early years, the Trust hosted an annual town picnic to acquaint the townspeople with the Land Trust's mission and to thank them for their support. More recently, the picnic has morphed into an annual pie social showcasing local pie-baking talents. Held in the fall, the event is now co-sponsored by the Land Trust, the Historical Society, and the Civic Association.
Moving the location of the pie social from one Trust-protected property to another has increased awareness of the Trust's goals. At these events, the Charles and Mary Kusik Citizenship Award, initiated by the Trust, is given to honor a resident for his or her "outstanding civic commitment and contribution on behalf of the Town of Richmond and its residents."
In an effort to show how land is being used in Richmond, the Trust has prepared a color-coded map of the town. The map helps us understand the current and potential land use in the vicinity of proposed projects. Click here to view the map.
Owners of conserved properties pay a lower tax on their protected land, so the Trust voluntarily adopted a policy of making an annual payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) to the town for the land that the Trust owns.
Throughout the years, the Trust has maintained a strong working relationship with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, a nonprofit land conservation organization working throughout the Berkshires to preserve important lands for the enjoyment and benefit of the public. Our membership in the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and the Land Trust Alliance provides us additional resources and information to stay current on land trust issues at both the state and national levels.
One of Richmond's unique and prized assets is the section of Swamp Road often referred to as the "cathedral," where the tree canopy forms an arch over the road, unmarred by utility poles and tree trimming. To partially protect this section, the Trust negotiated a bargain sale purchase of 28 acres on the west side of Swamp Road from James and Barbara Mihalke and a conservation restriction given by the Boynton family on 73 acres that starts along the east side of Swamp Road and extends across East Road to Osceola Road.
Over the years, the Trust has installed two benches at scenic vistas along popular hiking/walking routes in town. One is at the Hollow Fields Reserve parking lot on Perry's Peak Road and commemorates Ron and Judith Shaw's donation of the land for the reserve. The second, at the intersection of East and Reservoir Roads, offers panoramic views over the expansive meadows of the former Malnati farm. This bench remembers Nancy Hull, a talented artist, gardener, and passionate conservationist. Shortly before her tragic auto accident she had written of the farm, "Each morning I run by this land and watch the life that unfolds during the early morning hours (human, animal and bird)... It enriches my day beyond measure and I miss the daily 'stories' of this open space should I leave for a time." In her memory, the Trust placed this bench, which has become very popular with artists and the public as they enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the farm.