Town Meeting Warrant Article to Conserve 300 Acres of Nobscot Scout Reservation

Published January 29, 2008 | Community Preservation Committee | Updated November 7, 2014 | Automatically Archived on 9/30/2008

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Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), the regional land trust, the Knox Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America (Council) and the Town of Sudbury announced a joint campaign to permanently conserve 300 acres of unprotected land in Sudbury located on the Nobscot Scout Reservation on Nobscot Road. The permanent protection of this beautiful and historic land has long been a high priority for Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town. An agreement has been reached that will place approximately 300 acres of the Nobscot Scout Reservation into permanent conservation if approved by Sudbury Town meeting and if private fundraising goals are met.

Conservation of the Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation requires a variety of funding sources, and is proposed to be done in two phases. Phase I would involve the purchase of a Conservation Restriction (CR) on 160 acres in Sudbury for a cost of $6.6 million, which represents a bargain sale of the appraised CR value. A majority of the funding will come from Sudbury’s Community Preservation Act funds. SVT is leading the private fundraising component of the campaign. A build out plan for the property shows the potential for up to 47 house lots on the Sudbury portion of the Nobscot Scout Reservation.

“Nobscot Reservation is one of the highest priority parcels for preservation in the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan,” said Jody Kablack, Director of Planning and Community Development for Sudbury. “We have been implementing the plan and conserving lands steadily since the adoption of the Community Preservation Act in 2002, which gives us the resources to fulfill our open space goals.”

If approved at Town Meeting, $5.5 million will be expended from the Town’s Community Preservation funds which will not require a new tax levy on Sudbury residents. “This project is exactly what we hoped to achieve with the CPA in Sudbury,” said Chris Morely, Community Preservation Committee Chairman. “We’ve identified the large land pieces we knew could be sold to developers, and as they’ve come along Town Meeting has readily approved keeping them open. The CPC has been conservative and husbanded our resources, so we are in a position to cover the debt service on multiple land purchases. We have every reason to believe that more large tracts will be coming to us in the near future.”

Phase II would involve the purchase of a CR on an additional 140 acres in Sudbury. The price will be determined in the same way as for Phase I, with a bargain price based on appraised value. Both Phase I and II will be voted on at Sudbury Annual Town Meeting, in the spring of 2008, though payment for Phase II will be deferred.

“Conserving 300 acres of land located in Sudbury is a priority for SVT because of the conservation value of this land,” said Ron McAdow, SVT Executive Director. “The natural resource values of the Nobscot Scout Reservation are many. The property has been identified by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as estimated rare habitat for two species. Other ecological attributes include vernal pools, wetlands, and a tributary of the Sudbury River.”

The Knox Trail Council intends for the entire property to be preserved in perpetuity through the sale of a conservation restriction to SVT and the Town of Sudbury. Council leaders have worked with Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Town of Sudbury to develop a proposal to protect a significant portion of the property. The area covered by the current campaign includes a network of trails. In addition to protecting the natural resources of the area, conservation will continue the current policy for public access, including the Bay Circuit Trail – a hiking trail that runs from Duxbury around Metropolitan Boston and back up to Newburyport.

The Nobscot Scout Reservation is owned by the Knox Trail Council and is located in both Sudbury and Framingham. The 452 acre reservation represents one of the largest undeveloped pieces of open space in the Metro West area, and borders Callahan State Park and two pieces of Town conservation land. The Reservation is well-used by the public, who hike its trails, and enjoy views from the top of Nobscot Mountain and Tipling Rock.

“The Boy Scouts have been good stewards of this magnificent parcel of open space and habitat since 1928, and have spent years acquiring parcels since the original gift of 44 acres. During that time hundreds of thousands of young people have acquired life long memories and learned valuable life skills,” said Dennis Prefontaine, Knox Trail Council Scout Executive. “Conserving this ‘urban oasis’ will allow the council and the camp to continue its mission of youth development, as a good community citizen, for generations with the proximity of this valued parcel in the vibrant Metrowest area we serve.”

The significance of this project, not just for Sudbury but for the entire region, cannot be overstated,” added McAdow. “We look forward to working with the Town and the Council in conserving this amazing natural resource.”

To view or download a .pdf map of Nobscot Reservation, click here.

The Sudbury Valley Trustees website has further information on this project.