Magazine

Examiner

How Massachusetts seeded the idea of land conservation

The Trustees of Reservations, turning 125 this year, helped spark a worldwide movement to set aside public lands.

16crane - The Grand Allee at the Crane Estate sweeps from the Great House to the casino and then on to the ocean. (The Trustees of Reservations/Jumping Rocks Photography)
Jumping Rocks Photography
The Grand Allee at Ipswich’s Crane Estate.

> 1891 — Year the Massachusetts Legislature established the Trustees of Reservations, proposed by visionary landscape architect Charles Eliot; that same year, Eliot helped found the precursor to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation

> 13 — Number of historic houses managed by the Trustees, including the Old Manse in Concord and the William Cullen Bryant homestead in Cummington

> May 21 — Date the Trustees kicks off its statewide 125th anniversary celebration with open houses at nine historic sites; for info, visit thetrustees.org/125

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> 8 — Number of trail systems connecting to its properties, including Cape Cod Pathways and the Appalachian Trail

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> 350 — Total length in miles of the trails on Trustees’ properties

> 116 — Number of properties protected by the Trustees, starting with the first, Sherborn’s Rocky Narrows

> 70 — Number of miles of coastline, including Marblehead’s Crowninshield Island, the nonprofit protects

> 1.6 million — Number of Trustees visitors in 2015, the most for any organization in Massachusetts

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> 132 — Number of rare species protected on Trustees’ properties

> 27,000 acres — Total land of all the Trustees’ properties

> 125,000 — Number of Trustees members, who pay dues of $47 a year

> “As Boston’s lovers of art united to found the art museum, so her lovers of nature should now rally to preserve . . . these scenes of natural beauty which . . . still exist near their doors.” — Charles Eliot, on the need for a reservation commission

Sources: Trustees of Reservations; Garden and Forest, March 5, 1890

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