Five Rivers Conservation Trust receives extraordinary gift: 477 acres of land

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The Drown Farm’s heifers at their summer pasture on the Janeway Conservation Area. Photo by Beth McGuinn

CONCORD, NH – Harold and Betsy Janeway have given an extraordinary gift of their home and 477 acres of land in Webster and Hopkinton to Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

The Janeway Conservation Area has many attributes that make it a conservation priority. The Blackwater River, one of the “Five Rivers,” flows along 3/4 of a mile of the Conservation Area’s southern boundary.  Rich Cook, Five Rivers Project Manager for the project says, “For paddlers, this part of the river feels like wilderness.”

On the north side of the property lies 1¼ miles of frontage on Deer Meadow Brook and its associated wetlands, an important water filtration system that slows frequent heavy rains. Included in the Conservation Area are hayfields managed by Bohanan Farm, producing Contoocook Creamery milk products locally and pastureland used by the Drown Farm’s heifers each summer. Combined with hundreds of acres of forestland and frontage on Chase Pond, the Conservation Area is a haven for wildlife – songbirds and hawks, foxes and bears, salamanders, snakes and fish all use the habitat provided by these 477 acres.

Harold and Betsy have retained a “life estate” which allows them to reside on and manage the property for as long as they wish, after which full ownership of the land will pass to Five Rivers to be used for conservation purposes.  The Janeways have provided the future opportunity for Five Rivers to sell the house, buildings and an existing house lot to generate a stewardship fund so that Five Rivers can care for the land and make it available in the future for education and public recreation, as appropriate.

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A hayfield at the Janeway Conservation Area. Photo By Rich Cook

“I met the Janeway family over 30 years ago, and have admired their generosity and community engagement all along.  Five Rivers is honored to be entrusted with the stewardship of this land for the future,” said Beth McGuinn, Executive Director of Five Rivers Conservation Trust. “We wish the Janeways many more years to live on and enjoy their property, after which we will be proud to care for the land they have loved.”

The donation of the Janeway Conservation Area ushers in a new era for Five Rivers, conserving land by ownership in addition to its use of the conservation easement as a conservation tool.  This is the third and by far, the largest property where Five Rivers will own and manage conserved land. The others are the Sweatt Preserve in Hopkinton and the Armstrong Forest Preserve in Concord. The Janeways’ remarkable gift is the largest property conserved by Five Rivers Conservation Trust.

Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit membership-supported organization that works with communities and landowners to protect land to ensure that future generations can experience, utilize, and benefit from the farms, forests, wetlands, and fields that characterize today’s landscape. The organization works in seventeen communities across the greater Capital Region and has conserved over 80 properties, 5400+ acres. 

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