13 acres of forest preserved off West Street.


Byline: Donna Boynton

UXBRIDGE - A forestry organization and a local land trust have joined to preserve 13 acres off West Street.

Metacomet Land Trust is working with the New England Forestry Foundation to preserve the land, once the home of well-known music teacher Helen Cairns, who died in 2002 at 100 years of age. The land abuts the more than 400-acre Laurel Brook Club, a private fishing and skeet shooting club founded in 1902.

The Cairns home sits on three acres, and there is an adjacent 13 acres. The home will remain in private ownership, while the adjacent land will be sold to Laurel Brook Club with a conservation restriction to be held by the Metacomet Land Trust.

A four-acre parcel across the street from the Cairns property will be added to the restriction later.

The Cairns property was once part of club, said Whitney Beals, director of land protection for New England Forestry Foundation. The foundation owns 23,000 acres in all the New England states except Rhode Island.

Mr. Beals said a member of the club - who is also a member of the foundation - became concerned the Cairns property could be developed. The land was donated to the foundation, and once the conservation restriction is complete, the club will buy the property to add to the adjoining acreage. The land is protected under Chapter 61 of state law as forestry land, he said.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to pay down the mortgage on the foundation's Littleton headquarters. Mr. Beals did not disclose the sale price.

Mr. Beals said Laurel Brook Club has a forestry management program, which includes firewood harvesting. A similar program will be adopted for the Cairns property.

The Metacomet Land Trust will hold the conservation restriction on the property. The trust serves 14 towns in southern...

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