Help Save The Ciesluk Forest



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SVT is working in partnership with the Towns of Berlin and Clinton to conserve a 55-acre property that spans the two towns and abuts 193 acres of conservation land, including SVT's Garfield Woods and Berlin's Forty Caves.




In a recent analysis of the land in the SuAsCo Rivers watershed, SVT reviewed data from numerous sources and determined that the 55-acre Ciesluk Forest is on the western edge of a swath of the highest-priority land in our region. Over 3,000 acres of this high-priority area remains unprotected and undeveloped. Protection of the Ciesluk Forest is one of the first steps in a multi-year effort to preserve farms, woodlands, and wetlands in this 3,000-acre area. This effort constitutes a second phase and expansion of the Tri-Town Initiative.

The Ciesluk Forest is also a vital link in an extensive wildlife corridor, and 2/3 of the property is recognized as Core Habitat for marbled salamander and Blanding’s turtle, both of which are threatened species.  The property also protects habitat for Native Brook Trout with North Brook, a cold water stream, running through the property for 4,700 feet. Cold water streams are a rare habitat type allowing native brook trout to survive.

Finally, Ciesluk Forest is in close proximity to dense development in the Town of Clinton (one of the most densely populated towns in Massachusetts), and will be an important environmental asset to the more than 16,000 residents in the Towns of Clinton and Berlin as well as the surrounding region. Protection of Ciesluk Forest will bring nature and open space closer to home and help to keep the air and water clean in Central Massachusetts.




In addition to its natural resources, the property offers abundant opportunities for passive recreation. Ciesluk Forest connects to 193 acres of immediately adjacent conservation land, including SVT’s Garfield Woods Reservation. The trails on the abutting conservation land have long been popular with area residents, though SVT had to close the only entrance due to safety issues with an active railroad line. The acquisition of the Ciesluk Forest will expand the existing trail network and allow SVT to re-open the trails on the abutting land by creating two trail heads on Ciesluk Forest. This trail network will be suitable for hiking, horseback riding, and skiing, as well as for environmental education outings.