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Hopkinton: Albin-Hart farm easement donated to Five Rivers Conservation Trust

  • A conservation easement on Albin-Hart Farm in western Hopkinton was donated to Five Rivers Conservation Trust. Courtesy

  • A conservation easement on Albin-Hart Farm in western Hopkinton was donated to Five Rivers Conservation Trust, protecting the land from development in future years. The land has some of the richest soil in the region and is a serene place to watch the moon rise, says Frances Hart, the owner. Courtesy



Monitor staff
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eighteen acres of serenity at the Albin-Hart Farm in west Hopkinton will remain in its state thanks to an easement donation to the Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

The landowner, Frances Hart, approached Five Rivers a year ago about donating an easement on her hayfield to protect the land from future development. The deal was completed in September.

“Watching the moonrise year after year, she wanted to make sure nothing got in the way of that,” said Five Rivers Executive Director Beth McGuinn. “We spoke on the phone several times, and one of our project managers, Ralph Knight, was willing to work with Fran to conserve the land.”

The easement includes 27.5 acres in all, combining the 18-acre hayfield and surrounding woodlands on the property adjacent to the Hopkinton-Everett flood control area.

The hayfield sits on “prime agricultural soil,” McGuinn said, which is uncommon in the Granite State, and is among the highest ranked wildlife habitats by ecological condition in New Hampshire, according to Fish and Game.

“Whatever property is good for agriculture we try to conserve,” McGuinn said. “We have a lot of woodland in the area, and when you combine woodland with a field, that unusual habitat makes the area more attractive to a variety of wildlife.”

Hart has owned the farm since 1975 and is the third owner in more than 100 years. Massachusetts governor Frank Allen bought the land in 1915 and raised Guernsey cows on hay from the field.

After Allen died, Harold and Christine Albin, Hart’s parents, bought the farm in 1950, attracted by its rich soil. Harold, who had retired from the U.S. Agricultural Department, began raising and selling vegetables on the farm.

Hart grew up on the farm and took ownership in 1975. The farm continues today as a local source of hay for area farmers.

Five Rivers, a local land trust organization based out of Concord, oversees some 4,600 acres of conserved land across 17 towns in the capital area, including more than 1,000 acres in the Hopkinton/Contoocook region. The organization is celebrating its 30th year in business this year.

The town of Hopkinton helped cover expenses for Albin-Hart project, McGuinn said.

“We want to make sure we can protect the land against problems that may come up and have the wherewithal to take action,” she said.

 

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321.)