Friday, June 27, 2003
Mass. Land Trust coordinator Bernie McHugh addresses CCF
At the annual meeting of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) on June 5, Bernie McHugh, Coordinator of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, addressed more than fifty Carlisle residents, town officials and interested citizens, reviewing the successes and activities of the Coalition, which represents a combined membership of more than 125,000 Massachusetts families united under the umbrella of such organizations as the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Sudbury Valley Trustees, the Trustees of Reservations and nearly 100 smaller conservation organizations like CCF. McHugh sees his job as being the coordinator between these private non-profit conservation organizations and state agencies.
McHugh urged the meeting to support the recently completed State Conservation Plan, "Vision etc." Of the three million acres of land in Massachusetts that remain undeveloped, it is critical to preserve one million for water supply, wildlife habitat, farms and forestry, passive recreation, and relief from urban sprawl. This requires joint efforts by Land Trusts and state agencies. Statistics show that critical lands are disappearing at a rapid rate. Each day 44 acres of forest, open space and farmland in Massachusetts are lost to development. McHugh encouraged those present to support the Coalition in its campaign at the State House to save the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program from extinction and maintain funding in the FY04 budget.
McHugh hopes Governor Romney and the Legislature would approve reorganization to enable better coordination between transportation systems, housing development and conservation. It was also his opinion that despite fiscal pressures the monies for the Community Preservation Act would be preserved for participating communities.
Meeting participants also took a walk on the Clark Farm and Zoll property, and heard about the completion of the Clark Farm conservation restriction and the success of the CCF's sheep grazing. The project is part of an overall land management plan forTowle Field and Spencer Brook, to mow the fields and control invasive species such as buckthorn.
© 2003 The