The Arlington Land Trust, Inc. has as its mission the permanent protection of open spaces in Arlington, Massachusetts, for the benefit of our community’s quality of life, environmental health, and all our citizens.
The Trust is founded on the understanding that open green land offers welcome breathing space to our neighborhoods, natural cooling on the hottest days, water drainage and flood control, and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Land left undeveloped (or reclaimed) also demands fewer town services and lessens pressure on our congested roads. Most of all, open areas ensure places for our children to grow up out of doors — to run, play and be free.
We will serve as a vehicle for the preservation of the few remaining large undeveloped parcels in our densely-developed community. Also, we will foster and support neighborhood efforts to protect smaller lots that may not rise to the level of townwide importance, yet are critical to a neighborhood’s character and dear to the abutters. Helping to educate the Arlington community — land owners, town officials, and all its citizens — about the benefits of land protection is a core part of our mission.
The Trust will employ tools such as crafting, holding and managing conservation easements; receiving donations of property or easements; and purchasing and conveying property. As appropriate, we will partner with town and state governments and own and/or manage property for its recreation and ecological values. Financial donations, private grants and public funds will be accepted by the Trust for the purposes of carrying out our work.
As a private group, the Trust offers a choice to landowners and donors who prefer an alternative to public ownership and management of protected land. We can work privately and flexibly, negotiating confidentially with landowners. We can also conduct acquisitions in a timely manner, without the constraints of the Town legislative process. Yet we can work on projects on the Town’s behalf as well as the Trust’s own projects. We can offer land acquisition expertise to the Town through our volunteers with professional experience and knowledge.
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.