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State Partnership Conserves 800 Acres in South Berkshire

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Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles, left, and Gov. Deval Patrick.
MONTEREY, Mass. — State officials, citizens and members of the Berkshires land conservation community marked the completion of the Hudson Conservation Project last week.

The two-phase public-private partnership protects 800 acres of forest and meadow in Tyringham and Monterey.

Adjacent to and now part of MassWildlife's original 101-acre Tyringham Wildlife Conservation Easement parcel in Tyringham, the new property will be open to wildlife recreation such as fishing, hunting, hiking, birdwatching and other wildlife-related recreation. Combined with nearby 12,350 protected acres, the newly completed conservation project creates a virtually contiguous block of protected open space spanning 13,344 acres of the Southern Berkshires.

The celebration at Steadman Pond last Thursday was attended by project partners, the property's former owner, outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen, local legislators and municipal officials.

Gov. Deval Patrick and former land owner Sarah Hudson
 The Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Monterey Preservation Land Trust own the fee interest in the parcels. MassWildlife holds the conservation easement that prevents development of the property, allows public access and provides habitat management input by the agency.

"Preservation of this 800-acre-plus landscape would not have been possible without the foresight and generosity of our partners," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. "The commonwealth owes a debt of gratitude to the Hudson family for choosing to preserve this property rather than sell it to developers, to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for helping to protect this significant parcel of pristine land, and to the Monterey Preservation Land Trust for its extraordinary donation of conservation restrictions worth $2 million."

Gov. Deval Patrick noted that the Hudson Conservation Project is among 222 land conservation efforts completed by the Department of Fish and Game, MassWildlife and other state environmental agencies in fiscal 2008.

"This most recently completed acquisition safeguards three distinct habitats that the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program classifies as rare and in need of protection," said Mary Griffin, commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game.

The three habitats include acidic rock cliff habitat, rich mesic, or moist, forest and Living Waters Core Habitat.

"The property supports an incredible diversity of native wildlife species, including whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkey, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, red and gray fox, black ducks, and several rare and endangered species," said Griffin.

One of the unexpected highlights of the celebration was the appearance of an adult bald eagle soaring over the crowd of 50 to 60 people for several minutes.
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