The Sheffield-Egremont Agricultural, Ecological & Scenic Corridor is a rarity in the state - a relatively intact and unfragmented rural landscape. In round numbers, the heart of the Corridor is over 2,000 acres of field, forest and wetland in southeast Egremont and northwest Sheffield, the core of which is owned by half a dozen families. There are an additional dozen ownerships the conservation of which would greatly enhance the core. This Corridor connects to over 5,000 acres of protected land, including the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Everett and Jug End State Reserves, wildlife management areas, and other privately conserved land crossing municipal boundaries and increasing the connectivity of forest, habitat and recreational resources. It is part of one of the “World’s Last Great Places” as identified by The Nature Conservancy, and we have an opportunity to keep it that way.
The importance of this landscape its stunning beauty, working farms and wildlife areas is highlighted in numerous land trust, town and state plans and inventories. The land is a mix of upland, wetlands, streams, fields and forest. Agriculturally, the soils, size and contiguity of fields provide versatility and stability over the long-term to support many types of agriculture in wet and dry years, as large or small farm operations. Ecologically, it includes State BioMap and Living Waters habitat for rare species and exemplary natural communities. Scenically, looking west from the eastern anchor, one is transported back in time. There are no power lines to remind you of the 21st century. The winding dirt road through rolling fields, the tree-lined stream and wetlands draw the eye to the blue-green mass of Mt. Everett and the entire Taconic Mountain range beyond. To the west, Undermountain Road lives up to its name, meandering gracefully at the foot of the mountains through fields and canopied forest with stone walls, historic barns and family homes that speak to the long legacy of farming. Recreationally, it includes favorite biking and running routes, and people come from near and far to watch the sunset, walk their dogs or photograph and paint the landscape. Economically, not only is it essential to agriculture but the spectacular view epitomizes the landscape that drives our regional tourism and associated industries.
Phase II of the Corridor includes the 120-acre Maple Shade Farm along Sheffield-Egremont and Lime Kiln Roads as well as key forest and wildlife habitat anchoring the western end of the Corridor near and along Route 41 and the Taconic Mountains, including 85 acres just protected on Jug End and Guilder Hollow Roads in Egremont and Sheffield. This follows the successful conclusion of the first phase of the Corridor, which secured 165 acres of field, forest and farm housing on Bow Wow Road as well as the 130-acre Quarry Hill Farm and the 58-acre Lime Kiln Wildlife Connector. The Egremont and Sheffield Land Trusts must raise $2 million from individuals, businesses and foundations toward the total $4.5 million Phase II cost.
Your gift or pledge to the Egremont or Sheffield Land Trusts will be matched dollar for dollar by the Sheffield-Egremont Challenge Fund. We are also in the process of finalizing a grant for the Sheffield-Egremont Corridor from the Pew Charitable Trusts that will provide an additional 20% match for gifts of $1,000 or more. Please contact the SLT office if you would like your gift to qualify for the Pew matching grant. To make a contribution or pledge, please print and mail our donation or pledge form. Contributions to SLT are tax-deductible. Thank you!