Pell Farms Conservation Area
Pell Farm is a 153 acre parcel located on Soap Hill and George Hill Roads. It offers a diverse and scenic landscape including agricultural fields, forest, and open fields. It is a critical link to passive recreation and inspiring for its beauty.
The Pell Family contacted the Trust for Public Land and Town of Grafton in 2008 regarding several offers they had received for the purchase of this land. With preservation in mind, both the Town and the Pell family reached an agreement on the acquisition of this land for the benefit of all. The Pell Family would continue to harvest and sell Christmas trees (visit their website) on the property for another 10 years while passive recreation was permitted. After the 10 years, the Town will elect to lease the fields to another farmer or mange them for wildlife habitat.
The parcel of land is critical for many reasons. One reason is its connection to Upton Conservation Land. Its preservation establishes a significantly larger contiguious wildlife zone. Furthermore, as Edmund T. Hazzard, vice chairman of the GLT explained, "the parcel is very large and has a large frontage on which a developer could construct 100 houses or more over the next 10 years. The purchase price for the 150 acres is a small amount to pay for such a long-term gain." (Telegram, Town studying land acquisition, September 5, 2008)
While this project was only successful due a commitment of the citizens of Grafton, the Trust for Public Land, along with the Grafton Land Trust, played a critical role in brokering the deal. Specifically, the two organizations were able to facilitate the a myriad of financing for the project through a combination of a Massachusetts State LAND Grant, private funds, existing CPA funds, and CPA bonding.