DNRT has signed a contract to preserve a key parcel at the entrance to its Smith Farm Reserve on Smith Neck Road, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. While not apparent to visitors to Smith Farm, this 1.85 acre parcel was privately owned. DNRT used it for the past 30 years as the Reserve’s parking area and trailhead with permission of the owner. In fact the long-time owner of this parcel, Cynthia Parsons, who passed away in late 2021, had generously donated 53.4 acres of Smith Farm to DNRT in 1991 while retaining this building lot.
With the passing of the owner, ownership of the parcel passed to a Trust. The Trust informed DNRT in February 2022 that it planned to put the parcel on the open market on March 1. Given the short time frame and the amount of funding needed, DNRT recognized that it was unlikely that we would be able to acquire the parcel. We hurried to move our road sign, kiosk, and trail entrance from the parcel before it was put on the market.
But we did not give up. We felt that this parcel was very special to the identity of Smith Farm, and it would have been heartbreaking to see it developed. So we sought a way to make its preservation possible. Then, two weeks after the parcel was listed, our hopes were realized when a generous donor committed to funding the acquisition for DNRT. We quickly made an offer that was accepted by the Trust, which already had received a number of competing offers.
DNRT is thrilled to be able to protect this parcel and continue to use it as the lovely, historic entrance to Smith Farm. After we return our signage and trail entrance to where they stood for many years, most visitors to Smith Farm will never know about our recent successful efforts and the loss that was narrowly averted.