Table of Contents
- Land Conservation
- Land Management
- Climate Change and Resiliency
- Mapping & GIS
- Solar Programs & Bylaws
- Connect with other Conservation Organizations
- Upcoming Educational Events
General Land Conservation
- HLT Conserving Your Land: Your Land, Your Future
- MassWoods Land Conservation Options
- HLT Conservation Restriction Handbook
- MA Conservation Restriction Review Program
- Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program
- The Trust for Public Land’s Conservation Economic Messaging Worksheet
Open Space Conservation
- Mass Gov Open Space Helpful Links & Resources
- MassWoods- Open Space Committees
- Open Space and Recreation Planner’s Workbook
- Need help with a town project? Contact your Regional Planning Agency
- Find a Forester
- Mass Woodlands Institute
- MA DCR’s Working Forest Initiative
- Increasing Forest Resiliency for an Uncertain Future, UMass Extension
- Restoring Old Growth Characteristics, UMass Extension
- Harvard Forest Wildlands & Woodlands Initiative
- Massachusetts Endangered Species Program
- Berkshire Wildlife Linkages, Staying Connected Initiative
- Riparian Forest Buffers, USDA Forest Service
- Foresters for the Birds
- White-Tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests: Understanding and Assessing Impacts, USDA Forest Service
- Vernal Pool Certification
- Native Bee Conservation
- Fish & Aquatic Conservation
Invasive Species Management
- Picking Our Battles: Planning Successful Invasive Plant Management Project, New Hampshire Fish and Game
- Westfield River Watershed Invasive Species Partnership
- Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
- Landscape Partnership Grant Program: The Landscape Partnership grant program aims to protect larger areas of conservation land. Towns with less than 6,000 residents may also use this grant to build a park or playground. Applications must be jointly submitted by at least two of the following groups: municipality, non-municipal public water supplier, 501(c)(3) non-profit, government agency
- LAND Grant Program: The Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant program helps municipalities acquire conservation and recreation land by reimbursement for acquisition in fee or conservation restrictions
- Neighborhood Outreach Grant: The working forest initiative is sponsoring grant funding for projects to implement “neighborhood-based outreach” to landowners on conservation-based estate planning, including land protection options
- Land and Recreation Grants & Loans: The MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs offers various grants and loans concerning land conservation, protecting town drinking water supply, and funds to assist in the creation of parks in Gateway cities.
- Commonwealth Conservation Land Tax Credit: This state tax credit can reimburse landowners up to $75,000 for a donation of conservation land. The donation must permanently protect an important natural resource, such as forest land, that is in the public’s interest.
- Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Grant Program: The state PARC Grant program helps municipalities in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. These grants can be used to acquire parkland, build a new park, or to renovate an existing park.
- Community Preservation Act: The CPA helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. The CPA is funded through a local option surcharge on property tax bills and a state match or those surcharges. For more information, see the Community Preservation Coalition
- Chapter 61 Current Use Tax Programs: The three Chapter 61 programs assess land at its current use (forest, agriculture, open space/recreation) as opposed to its development value and provides tax breaks if enrolled
- Town’s Right of First Refusal: Landowners entering one of the Chapter 61 programs agree to maintain the use of the land in a way consistent with their chosen program. However, if a landowner wants to sell their land or change its use a town may exercise their right of first refusal to buy the land or may transfer the right of first refusal to an eligible conservation organization
- Cost of Community Services: Land protection and conservation have impacts beyond those directly involved with the conservation and it is important for communities to better understand how conservation and land protection impact things like taxes and town finances, economic growth and sustainability, and community health
Climate Change and Resiliency
- Climate Action Tool
- New England Landscape Futures Explorer
- New England Climate Change Response Framework
- Climate Change Tree Atlas
- Conservation in a Changing Climate
- The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient and Connected Landscapes project
- TNC’s Climate Resiliency Maps
- MA Climate Change Clearinghouse
- MassGov Culvert Replacement Grant Program
- MassGov Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program
Mapping & GIS
Solar Programs & Bylaws
- UMass Clean Energy Extension Office
- SMART Program Updates
- SMART Regulations
- DOER Model Solar Zoning Bylaw
- MAPC Solar Permitting Guidance
- Athol Solar Zoning Bylaw Assessment
Connect with other Conservation Organizations
Surrounding Land Trusts
Franklin Land Trust, Shelburne Falls, MA
Kestrel Land Trust, Amherst, MA
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Athol, MA
Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Pittsfield, MA
Statewide and National Land Trusts
The Trustees: Oldest regional land conservation organization in the country (and HLT’s affiliate). The Trustees preserves, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.
Mass Audubon: Statewide nature conservation organization protects 36,500 acres of land throughout the state, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all.
The Nature Conservancy: Global organization with offices in all 50 states and over 60 countries, working to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
- The Nature Conservancy’s Massachusetts Field Office
American Farmland Trust: National organization working to save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.
New England Forestry Foundation: Regional organization that strives to serve and unite people and organizations across New England to support the long-term health of our forests, and to guarantee their continued environmental, recreational, and economic benefits for all New Englanders.
The Trust for Public Land: National nonprofit creating parks and protecting land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
Ducks Unlimited- Massachusetts Chapters: Works to conserve, restore, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl.
State Conservation Agencies
MA Department of Conservation and Recreation: State agency working to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources for the well-being of all.
MA Department of Fish and Game: State agency working to preserve the state’s natural resources and people’s right to conservation of those resources, as protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution.
Williamsburg Woodlands Trails: Maps and trail guides for the network of public hiking trails in and around Williamsburg.
Ashfield Trails: Trails and footpaths around the town of Ashfield.
Western Mass Hilltown Hikers: A volunteer group that organizes hikes and provides trail information for the 22 Hilltowns
Land Trust Advisory Groups
Land Trust Alliance: Land Trusts become accredited through this organization which offers support to land trusts by setting policy standards and guidelines, providing conservation training, and hosting forums to answer questions.
MA Land Trust Collation: This organization works to advance land protection in Massachusetts by providing education, tools, networking, and advocacy support for land trusts and their partners.
Upcoming Educational Events
Upcoming events geared toward landowners, town committee members, and conservation community leaders hosted by local and state conservation organizations can be found by following the links below.
- Hilltown Land Trust
- Franklin Land Trust
- Kestrel Land Trust
- Berkshire Natural Resource Council
- The Trustees
- Mass Audubon
- Mass Woods: Open Space Committees
- Mass Association of Conservation Commissions
- MA Land Trust Collation