When the Belmont Land Trust was founded in 1999, the Town of Belmont and McLean Hospital had come to the end of a long, difficult planning process to determine the future uses for McLean’s 240 acre campus on Belmont Hill. Within the town, there were a few remaining undeveloped properties – and it was apparent that these were unlikely to remain as such without a determined effort to keep them open and natural.
That year, a group of resident preservationists and conservationists formed the Belmont Land Trust to preserve and protect Belmont’s scenic, historic and natural character for the future enjoyment and use of the residents. It was established in the tradition of The Trustees of Reservations, which was the first land trust in the United States, founded by Charles Eliot in 1891. Today TTOR holds close to 200 conservation restrictions throughout Massachusetts, and since then, local, state and national land trusts have preserved more than 20 million acres of land in the United States. That amount is actually greater than the combined acreage of all the National Parks outside of Alaska.
The Belmont Land Trust has made its own modest contribution to this total. In the years following its establishment, nearly 25 acres of land have been placed under conservation and agricultural restrictions, and a natural wooded area established in a residential neighborhood. Partnering with the Land Trust are property owners, many of whom are descendants of Belmont’s earliest land owners, civic associations, gardeners, and farmers, conservation groups and generous citizen preservationists.
In addition, the Belmont Land Trust has worked with other civic organizations to preserve some of the town’s historic assets. It has partnered with the Belmont Woman’s Club, the Waverley Trail development committee, the Ogilby family and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The Land Trust has conducted educational outreach in the Belmont Public Schools and programs for the public. It has worked with the Belmont Citizens Forum and the Waltham Land Trust to develop the Western Greenway Trail. In 2011, the Belmont Land Trust was awarded a David R. Johnson historic preservation award for its community contributions.
The Belmont Land Trust continues to preserve and protect in perpetuity existing open space, to accept, hold, enforce and convey, with appropriate restrictions, conservation, preservation, or agricultural restrictions; and to educate and inform the general public and increase its appreciation of the scenic, historic, and natural character of the town of Belmont and its surroundings.
Donations to the Land Trust are used to pay for surveys, recording fees, insurance, website maintenance, educational outreach materials, support for community preservation projects and for its stewardship fund to take care of special legal expenses that may arise. We are indebted to the Belmont community for its ongoing support of our activities.
In addition to all those who have supported our conservation initiatives, we would like to extend our special thanks to the individuals and families who have actually donated land or conservation restrictions. By giving their land to the Belmont Land Trust, permanently protected natural spaces will continue to enhance the beauty and environmental health of the town of Belmont.
- Anne Allen
- The Belmont Woman’s Club
- The Haase Family
- The Lenk Family
- David Lubin and Nora Huvelle
- The Ogilby Family
- Thomas Shapiro and Emily Kline
- The Weeks Family
Board of Directors – 2023
Ron Geiger–Vice President