Mount Grace was incorporated in June of 1986, when local citizens and land use professionals came together to discuss their common concerns. The group met informally over seven months, and talked about how they might address the rapid, unorganized development of productive farm and forestland in north central and western Massachusetts.
The first project attributed to the newly established “Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust” was the conservation of a tract of land that had been doomed to be transformed into 200 house lots: the 365-acre Lawton Tree Farm in Athol, now the Lawton State Forest. Since that first success, Mount Grace has protected over 24,000 acres through the completion of over 200 projects.
Mount Grace’s extraordinary success is attributable to a highly qualified and committed Board of Directors with extensive experience in land conservation, forest stewardship and communications. The Board of Directors is supported by an energetic and dedicated staff, which has grown from one land protection specialist in 1986, to our present staff of ten full-time and one part-time employees. Numerous volunteers—many of whom provide pro-bono professional services—assist in Mount Grace’s efforts.
The base area of our conservation efforts is a 23-town region in north central and western Massachusetts, but we occasionally work with landowners outside of these towns. Membership support comes from the region that we serve, as well as from individuals across Massachusetts and the United States.
Mount Grace is a private, registered, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Over 900 members support us with annual membership dues, special gifts and donations. The trust’s work is sustained by individuals who have a common goal: they want to see the rural landscape and natural resources of north central and western Massachusetts preserved, so that all may enjoy and appreciate these lands in perpetuity.