Land Projects

DNRT permanently protects land to benefit people and nature by: 1) accepting donations of land; 2) accepting donations of conservation restrictions; 3) purchasing land; and 4) partnering with other organizations to protect land. (See “Overview” and “Ways to Protect” for more information.)

Please help us buy and maintain more critical conservation lands by contributing to our “Land Acquisition Fund” or our “Farmland Protection Initiative” online here or by contacting us at 508.991.2289

Following is more information about some of our land protection projects since 2004:


DNRT Completes North Hixville Conservation Project; Protects 62 Acres – December 2014

n hixville pond

DNRT is delighted to announce the purchase and protection of 62 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and open fields off North Hixville Road in North Dartmouth. The property will be named “Wernick Farm” in recognition of the family that owned the land since the 1950s, and DNRT plans to open it to the public in 2015.   more information

DNRT Protects Another 54 Acres in Little River Watershed – August 2011

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DNRT and Buzzards Bay Coalition announce the protection of 54 acres of woodlands and salt marsh at the head of Little River in Dartmouth. This acquisition fills in the last significant gap in a block of over 650 acres of conservation land that runs from Potomska Road across Little River to Smith Neck Road. As a consequence, a remarkable 60% of the entire Little River watershed is now under protection, helping safeguard the water quality in this tidal river and Buzzards Bay into which it flows.

Full press release (PDF file)

Cornell Farm Protected – February 2009

Thanks to the foresight of the Cornell family of Dartmouth, and to the generosity of a multitude of conservation partners, The Trustees of Reservations and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust are thrilled to announce the purchase and perpetual
conservation of the 131-acre Cornell Farm in Dartmouth.

Read more…(PDF file)

To all those who generously supported this effort, THANK YOU!

Ridge Hill Reserve Expansion Project Completed – March 2007

DNRT is happy to announce that we have acquired 52-acres of undeveloped forestland adjacent to our Ridge Hill Reserve and Jason Phillips Mill Site in North Dartmouth. This project continues the work of DNRT’s successful 2003-04 Hixville Conservation Project.

Protection of this 52-acre property:

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1. Fills a gap between 158-acres of DNRT-owned property and the 13,600-acre Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve, which includes thousands of acres of protected land owned by the City of Fall River surrounding the Copicut Reservoir.

2. Protects natural lands, including land designated as “Core Habitat” for biodiversity conservation by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.

3. Protects water quality in the Copicut Reservoir, which provides drinking water to the City of Fall River, and in a forested wetland system that flows through the Jason Phillips Mill Site to the Shingle Island River.

4. Expands a network of trails and historic woods roads with views of the Copicut Reservoir for passive recreational use by the public.

5. Preserves the scenic quality of the Copicut Reservoir and surrounding protected area, including DNRT’s Ridge Hill Reserve and Jason Phillips Mill Site

* For more infomation on how you can contribute to DNRT’s Land Acquisition Fund, please call us at 508-991-2289.
* To make a donation on-line by clicking on the “DONATE” button here.

DNRT’s “Farmland Protection Initiative” Helps Protect Working Farms

Farming has been important to Dartmouth for over 300 years and farmland protection has always been a major part of DNRT’s land conservation work. Since its founding in 1971, DNRT has helped protect over 1,000 acres of farmland. Nevertheless, Dartmouth continues to lose vital farmland. According to a Massachusetts Audubon Society report, between 1985 and 1999 Dartmouth lost 513 acres of farmland to residential development—more land than any other town in the state.

In response to the growing need to protect Dartmouth’s valuable farmland, DNRT has established a permanent Farmland Protection Fund. Having this designated fund will allow DNRT to react more rapidly to sudden opportunities to protect farmland, whether by acquiring the land, helping the town execute a right of first refusal on farmland under Mass. General Laws Chapter 61A, or assisting the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources with the purchase of an Agricultural Preservation Restriction.

In June 2006, DNRT kicked off the Farmland Protected Fund by raising $62,000 in private donations and $62,000 from the Dartmouth Community Preservation Fund to assist the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources purchase an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) on historic “Silverbrook Farm” on Chase Road.

Why save farmland? Because farms…
…contribute to a diversified local economy
…provide fresh local agricultural products
…provide scenic views
…preserve historical sites & local heritage
…protect air and water quality
…provide habitat for wildlife
…help control flooding
…keep additional traffic off our roads
…help keep taxes low (contribute more to revenue than they use for town services)

How you can help
1. Please give as generously as you are able to DNRT’s Farmland Protection Fund.
2. Support farming in Dartmouth by buying local agricultural products.
3. Help spread the word about DNRT’s Farmland Protection Initiative to friends and neighbors.

* For more information on how you can contribute to DNRT’s Farmland Protection Initiative, please call us at 508-991-2289.
* You can make a donation on-line by clicking on the “DONATE” button here.

Parsons Reserve Expanded – November 2005

In November 2005, DNRT received the gift of a beautiful 29-acre property on Horseneck Road, just south of Russell’s Mills Village. The owner of the property, William W. Parsons, had previously given DNRT an adjacent 3-acre parcel, known for the hundreds of daffodils that bloom there every spring. The 29-acre addition to the Parsons Reserve is a lovely and ecologically significant property. The fecund vernal pool provides habitat for a variety of common and rare species. Wild turkeys roost in the oaks along the edge of the pool, and the beautiful beech grove nearby provides shelter for picnickers. Salamanders, wood frogs and rare plants call the place home, and deer wander the paths, foraging on the young shoots of briars and other understory plants.

The Parsons Reserve is an exquisite addition to DNRT’s protected properties, and we are extremely grateful to Mr. Parsons, both for his gift and for the more than 40 years of care he gave his undeveloped land.

Stone Barn Farm Protected – July 2005

In July 2005, “Stone Barn Farm”, an ecologically significant 104-acre property between Horseneck Road and Allen’s Pond in Dartmouth, was protected by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Many organizations helped make this purchase possible, including DNRT, who donated conservation restrictions to DCR on lands DNRT owns in the vicinity, thus allowing DCR to receive a critical federal grant for the acquisition.

This extraordinary opportunity to conserve this land also would not have been possible without the strong commitment of landowner Gil Fernandez.

In announcing the purchase, Audubon said, “The land provides 1,500 feet of frontage on Allen’s Pond, and will become part of Mass Audubon’s Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a number of rare plants and hundreds of species of birds, such as ospreys, peregrine falcons, least terns, bald eagles, short-eared owls and piping plovers. Acquisition of this property by Mass Audubon will create a contiguous block of 1,000 acres of protected habitats along the shore of Buzzards Bay, including salt marsh, coastal oak woodlands, heath and grasslands.

Mass Audubon will incorporate this land into the ecological management for the entire Allen’s Pond system and will be involved in planning and ecological monitoring on the property with a future vision of developing a trail system for public access and environmental programs.”

Little River Watershed Reserve Expansion Completed – Sept 2005

As of September 7, 2005, DNRT is the new owner of a beautiful 40-acre property off Potomska Road! This successful land acquisition project completes the protection of a contiguous block of 350 acres of woodlands and wetlands at the head of Little River. The trails start at our Frank Knowles Reserve on the east side of Potomska Road, 7/10ths of a mile south of its intersection with Rock O’Dundee Road.

Protecting this land:
1. preserves several hundred acres of contiguous forestland as well as significant wetlands and rare species habitat;
2. helps protect water quality in Little River and Buzzards Bay;
3. preserves a scenic and historic landscape with an old farm site and many beautiful stone walls; and
4. provides incredible passive recreation opportunities, with walking trails stretching from Potomska Road through the Town of Dartmouth’s McBratney Property, where there is currently no good public access.

DNRT wholeheartedly thanks all the generous donors who made this acquisition possible.

Project Brochure with map and photos (PDF file)

Hixville Conservation Project Completed – 2004

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In 2004, DNRT closed on the final two Hixville Conservation Project properties, marking the successful close of a project that involved many groups and individuals. More than 300 families donated generous amounts of time and money. The Town of Dartmouth and the Community Preservation Committee made a major contribution of $700,000. Three independent foundations responded positively to our proposals. The landowners offered a bargain sale. The result? About 158 acres off Collins Corner Road in the northern part of Dartmouth are permanently protected and will create a broad greenway of contiguous open space within the Buzzards Bay watershed.
David Loranger, DNRT vice president and Hixville area resident, co-chaired the project. David pointed out that the HCP land abuts the Bioreserve and is very close to several other protected properties within Dartmouth. “By creating these extensive areas of open space, we make a real difference for wildlife. We’re also protecting both private and public water supplies, the Buzzards Bay watershed, and the unique character of the Hixville area.”

The properties include the 38-acre Jason Phillips Mill Site, the 85-acre Ridge Hill Reserve and the 35-acre Barzabiel Washburn Reserve. The land, most of it wooded upland, lies just south of the Copicut Reservoir between the Copicut and Shingle Island Rivers. All three properties are open to the public.