SOUTHWICK – Alain Peteroy of the Franklin Land Trust, Southwick Conservation Commission Chairman Dennis Clark and members of the Hampden and Hampshire Conservation District will be taking a boat ride through North Pond on Tuesday.
Serving landowners and communities in the Pioneer Valley, the Hampden and Hampshire Conservation District helps conserve and manage natural resources, farmland, woodland, and wildlife management in the area.
Robert Wichroski, who is the district supervisor for Southwick, lives on Middle Pond and will be taking the noted officials on the tour with his boat.
A nearly 20 year board member and past member of Southwick’s Conservation Commission, Wichroski is aware of what the Save North Pond supporters are trying to achieve.
“A lot of people want to preserve the land on North Pond and save it,” said Wichroski.
The Franklin Land Trust is hoping that the Hampshire Hampden Conservation District may assist in the funding aspect or help in any way possible.
In June, the Franklin Land Trust officially signed and reached an agreement with the North Pond land owner, Denise LeClair-Robbins, to extend the deadline to raise a total of $5 million in order to preserve North Pond.
Previously, the deadline was set for June 30, 2018, but due to the agreement between the land owner and Franklin Land Trust, the deadline was extended to December 31, 2018. The two parties were able to reach an extension agreement just days before the deadline.
The extension allows the Franklin Land Trust to have more time to conserve the remaining acres that’s needed. A total of 148 acres of North Pond to be preserved, of that, 83 acres has already been given to the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife in order to expand the Southwick Wildlife Management Area, which is adjacent to North Pond. The Franklin Land Trust will now have more time to conserve the remaining 65 acres that will go to the town of Southwick.
Besides acquiring the 148 acres, the $5 million also needs to be raised by December 31. A bout $3.5 million has been raised through many fundraisers, grants, and donations from supporters of North Pond meaning the Franklin Land Trust still needs to raise $1.5 million in order to preserve the land.
The Franklin Land Trust has been awarded several grants to help raise the money, including two-combined grants totaling $1.4 million from the Massachusetts Departments of Energy and Environmental Affairs as well as Fish and Wildlife.
Wichroski also mentioned that there will be another tour on October 18 to view the wildlife area on the North Pond land.