A Land Trust for Arlington
The Arlington Land Trust was formed in 2000 when concerned residents recognized that an increasing number of privately owned lands were being sold for development, but there was no local organization that could offer advice and counsel about alternative land conservation choices.
The Land Trust now works with interested landowners, town officials, and local community-based organizations to provide information about land conservation options and to respond directly when opportunities arise to preserve valued open land. Among its services are:
- Education and assistance to local government and community groups in strategic planning, land preservation, and resource protection;
- Advice for individual landowners and neighbors to increase awareness of conservation options and the financial benefits and tax savings of land conservation; and
- Management and stewardship of privately owned land through the establishment of conservation easements and other tools to protect the property’s natural and scenic values.
Arlington Land Trust has established important working partnerships to protect and maintain both public and private open spaces in Arlington.
Since purchasing Elizabeth Island in Spy Pond in 2010, the Land Trust has worked with neighbors, the Friends of Spy Pond Park, and the Vision 2020 Spy Pond Committee to ensure stewardship of the island habitat and access for passive recreation and nature education.
At the former Symmes Hospital site on Summer Street, the Arlington Land Trust and the town’s Conservation Commission are the joint holders of a state-approved conservation restriction to ensure the permanent protection of more than eight acres of open space. The protection of publicly accessible open space as part of this major redevelopment project means that all Arlington residents will be able to enjoy dramatic views of the Boston skyline from two new public parks at the top of the hill and have access to trails through the woods.
With the Friends of Arlington’s Great Meadows, the Land Trust helps protect and enhance public access to the 183 acres of wetlands and uplands located in East Lexington that is owned by the Town of Arlington. As fiscal sponsor of this energetic Friends group, the Land Trust accepts donations and sponsors grants to fund stewardship and special projects such as construction of boardwalks and restoration of meadow areas. These projects have improved public access and drawn attention to Arlington’s need to permanently protect this fragile resource.
The Land Trust sponsors the Arlington Conservation Stewards Fund to raise monies for the Conservation Commission’s Land Stewards Program. Volunteers in this program work to maintain and improve publicly owned conservation lands throughout the town, such as Turkey Hill and Meadowbrook Park.