Who we are
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.
The Trust was founded as a 501(c)(3) public charity and has worked steadily to preserve the rural character of Richmond through the conservation of 1,396 acres of open space. Twenty parcels, totaling 211 acres, have been protected by donations and purchases, and another 10 properties, totaling 1,185 acres, have been permanently 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.
Working with BNRC
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 four 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. There is a second one added in memory of Stephen and Leonora Congdon. The third, 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. A bench at the corner of Sleepy Hollow and East roads offers a lovely vista of one of the Boynton family fields and the Taconic Range. Many acres of the Boynton farm land have been protected from development with a conservation restriction.
Land preserved: 1,396 acres
Properties owned: 20, totaling 211 acres
Conservation restrictions: 10, totaling 1,185 acres
Richmond is a small, rural community in western Massachusetts, abutting the New York state border and just south of the city of Pittsfield. Richmond is noted for its scenic beauty, with tree-lined roads meandering through fields and the surrounding Berkshire hills.
The Land Trust is able to achieve its goals and meet its mission through support of members and donors. To become a member, you can make a contribution of any amount, by check, payable to Richmond Land Trust, addressed to:
Richmond Land Trust
PO Box 21
Richmond, MA 01254
Be sure to include your mailing address, so we can provide a written acknowledgment.
We are a 501(c)(3) public charity, so your donations are tax deductible.
Board of Directors
Rebecca Augur, President
Kerry Hamilton, Vice President
Glenn Novak, Clerk
John Mason, Treasurer
Joan Chapman Bartlett
Meaghan Morrison Rudolph