Fieldstone Farm Project

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Milestone Achieved! Fieldstone Farm Protected

June 24, 2016

More than 170 acres of Fieldstone Farm have been permanently protected. Another 60 acres—the agricultural core of the farm—was acquired for future protection and conveyance to a local farmer.

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About the Project

The Princeton Land Trust and Mass Audubon have teamed up to conserve Fieldstone Farm in Princeton (also known as Smith Farm). This spectacular and highly visible 270-acre property boasts expansive fields, beautiful stone walls, and a diverse mix of forest, meadow, streams, ponds, and wetlands.

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To make this vision a reality, we need to raise $750,000 from individuals and foundations and we are almost there! We have raised over $700,000 so far, and need your support to help us get to our goal and permanently protect this land for generations to come!

The Opportunity

Our goals are to keep the open lands in agricultural production, protect the farm’s woodlands and wetlands and open them to public access, and provide for some limited, carefully sited housing to meet other town needs.

We have secured an option to purchase the property for $3 million by June of 2016, which gives us time to assemble a coalition of conservation partners and to raise the necessary funds. A broad-based fundraising campaign is now underway, with a private fundraising goal of $750,000.

The Smith family has owned and farmed this iconic and historic landscape since 1944, but the time has come for them to sell. The family has given us this chance to keep the property open, and if we fail, it could be developed into more than two dozen house lots.

To succeed, we need to raise $3.1 million to cover the purchase price and related legal, appraisal, survey and other transaction costs. To do this, we will need the support of many critical partners and funding sources. Collaborating with public partners and combining state grants, local and regional support, and potential limited development (please see our description of funding opportunities) will give us the best shot at reaching our goal.

Why Protect Fieldstone Farm?

The fields have been in production for more than 200 years and include 38 acres of soils classified as Prime or State Important.

Historic value
The property is one of the oldest farms in Princeton and is part of the West Village Historic District.

Scenic landscape
This highly scenic and visible landscape was rated Distinctive (highest rating) in the Massachusetts Scenic Landscape Inventory.

Habitat and Biodiversity
The farm includes forests, meadows, streams, ponds, marsh, and forested and shrub swamps. Portions of the property have been classified by the state as among the most important statewide for preservation of the state’s biodiversity.

Connections with Other Protected Properties
The property abuts several thousand acres of contiguous open space, connecting to Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary and Wachusett Mountain State Reservation.

Fields and stone wall at Fieldstone FarmRecreation
Non-farmed portions of the property will be open to the public. The property is located near town-owned Boylston Park and may be linked to the “Trail Around Princeton” (TAP) now being promoted by the Princeton Open Space Committee and Parks and Recreation Committee.

Public Water Supply
The property drains into the Quinpoxet Reservoir (City of Worcester) and Wachusett Reservoir (Boston), and is therefore key to protecting our clean water supply.

Town Protection Priority
The farm is identified in the town’s 2014 Open Space Plan as Princeton’s top priority for protection, and has been at the top of the list since the plan was first developed in 2000.