About Westwood Land Trust
Our mission is to promote the protection and stewardship of open space and natural resources in the Town of Westwood.
In 1999, with a concern about protecting open space in Westwood, a group of town residents formed Westwood Land Trust (“WLT”) with the goal of acquiring and conserving open space and natural environments to preserve the town’s rural character while also supporting native wildlife.
Westwood Land Trust works cooperatively with landowners who wish to permanently preserve their property in its underdeveloped state by raising funds to buy development rights from landowners and receiving and enforcing conservation restrictions on Westwood properties.
After nearly 20 years, and with the contributions of hundreds of Westwood residents, the Westwood Land Trust has now preserved over 220 acres of land in Westwood.
Westwood Land Trust was formed as a result of the Town of Westwood’s Open Space and Recreation Plan adopted in 2000. The Plan recommended creating an organization to preserve the town's dwindling open space and retain its rural character while supporting native wildlife and reducing stress on town services.
Through the generosity of many private donors, acres that were once considered vulnerable will forever remain in their natural state. These include the stretch of spacious meadows on Clapboardtree Street, the woodlands along Hartford Street, the winding drive down Gay Street, and the majestic tree-lined areas at Grove Street and Summer Street. Longtime residents may recognize familiar names of our properties including the Lee Estate, Prout Farm, Striar Woods, Holbrook Farm, the Hogg Property, and Hunnewell land near Lowell Woods. To learn more about our individual properties, click here.
In 2005, we preserved 36 acres of wooded land on the Perry Property on Hartford Street and Mill Street. The Perry family offered to sell the development rights to WLT at a bargain price. Through a 3-year capital campaign, over 300 donors contributed to make this project a success.
In 2011, we proudly preserved our first property with public access at 1255 High Street known as Sen Ki. This property’s 1.2 miles of hiking trails run through pine forests and over high rocky ledges that offer panoramic views of Westwood.
What is Westwood Land Trust?
Westwood Land Trust, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to preserving open space, scenic views, forest, and habitat in Westwood. Westwood Land Trust works cooperatively with landowners who wish to permanently preserve their property in its underdeveloped state by raising funds to buy development rights from landowners and receiving and enforcing conservation restrictions on Westwood properties.
How does Westwood Land Trust preserve land?
Westwood Land Trust secures ownership of important natural land or interests in land, through gift or purchase, in order to protect important habitat or endangered plants and animals, and to help preserve the character of Westwood. This can be done through obtaining the land itself, or by obtaining the rights to develop the land through conservation easements.
What is a conservation restriction?
A conservation restriction is a permanent legal restriction that limits or prohibits development of land in order to protect conservation values such as scenic views and wildlife habitat. Westwood Land Trust is responsible for monitoring the property and enforcing the terms of the conservation restriction both now and in the future. The conservation restriction lasts forever: it applies to the current and all future owners of that property. All conservation restrictions are formally approved by Westwood’s Select Board and Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
How Can I Help Support Westwood Land Trust?
As we continue to pursue our goals to preserve as much open space as possible in Westwood, we will certainly need your help. Westwood Land Trust needs donations of land, conservation easements, volunteer energy, and your financial contributions to continue our efforts.
How does Westwood Land Trust fund its projects?
We must receive at least 1/3 of our financial support from persons other than major donors to maintain our public charity status. We rely on town residents and friends for support. Westwood Land Trust does not receive funding from the town or national organizations.
Can Westwood Land Trust help us with a town or neighborhood cause involving environment issues, land or waterways?
Although we support land conservation, Westwood Land Trust does not engage in political activity or lobbying and takes no position on zoning or regulatory matters.