Press Releases

The Trustees Acquires Jewell Hill As Its 120th Property

Fitchburg/Ashby/Ashburnham  |  July 29, 2020

Jewell Hill Panorama

Panoramic shot of Jewell Hill

The 300-acre Former Farm Joins Trustees’ Network of Special Places for Recreation, Protection of Fitchburg’s Water Resources

The Trustees today announces that 296 acres known as Jewell Hill Farm, have been permanently protected for drinking water supply protection and recreation. The property, located off Crocker Road, spans the towns of Ashby, Ashburnham, and Fitchburg and has been owned and managed by the Crocker Family for more than 100 years. This is the statewide conservation nonprofit’s 120th property in its portfolio.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the site in perpetuity thanks to the generosity and work of the Crocker Family, The Trustees, as well as the successful efforts of the Town of Ashburnham, and the City of Fitchburg, which received state grant funding from the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services (DCS) for the purchase of conservation restrictions on the property and its permanent protection.  The Trustees is also grateful for financial support from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

In 1917, Kendall F. Crocker purchased the first 250 acres of land which became a dairy farm during World War II that operated until 1987. Today, the property consists of both upland forests and approximately 85 acres of fields in hay production, including 40 acres of prime agricultural soils. Woodland trails lead to the summit of Jewell Hill at more than 1,400 feet, where people can enjoy sweeping views of the farm as well as more than 2,000 acres of protected land in the Fitchburg Watershed.

“We are so grateful to the Crocker family and the residents and town officials from all three communities for making it possible to add Jewell Hill to our collection of special places,” said Trustees President & CEO Barbara Erickson. “We are proud to expand on the area’s history of small family agriculture by preserving and maintaining the land for recreational use by all people for decades to come.”

Amid open fields, vernal pools, and woodland streams, the scenic farmland vistas and existing forest trails provide ample opportunities for year-round hiking and cross-country skiing in winter.

Jewell Hill’s natural beauty and existing forest trails have been well maintained by the Crocker Family and have been informally enjoyed by local residents for years. The property also presents an opportunity to protect watershed lands that serve Fitchburg. The City of Fitchburg Water Division has worked tirelessly to conserve surrounding lands for drinking water supply protection, and half of Jewell Hill’s acreage is designated as important for protection of outstanding water resources.

While the Crocker Family and The Trustees have discussed permanently protecting this land for many years, it was through the generous gift of a Trustees donor along with the City of Fitchburg’s and Town of Ashburnham’s success in securing grants for the purchase of conservation restrictions, that the Trustees were able to purchase the property.

The Trustees are honored to carry forward the Crocker Family’s legacy of stewardship and will be performing work in the coming months to install parking and welcome signage, including a trail map.  The Trustees looks forward to hosting a formal celebration of the Crocker Family’s gift and this important conservation effort in the Spring of 2021.

About The Trustees
Founded in the City of Boston by landscape architect and open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been inspiring generations to embrace nature, culture, and the great outdoors. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both natural and historic value, The Trustees is the nation’s first and the Massachusetts’ largest preservation and conservation nonprofit, with 120 publicly accessible parks, gardens, farms, beaches, historic homesteads, campgrounds, inns and recreational sites that welcome millions of residents and visitors annually.