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History of the Amherst Land Trust

The Amherst Land Trust was formed in the mid-1970s, at a time when the town's population was growing rapidly. A small group of dedicated citizens had the vision to establish this organization for the benefit of the citizens of Amherst.

In those days, membership in the Amherst Land Trust was $10/year - and the price of an acre of undeveloped land in town was less than $1,000. Board members identified several areas of concern that sound very familiar to us today. A review of their minutes show discussions of development pressure and escalating land values; loss of open space and wildlife habitat; and the cost of housing, particularly for elderly citizens and local young people.

The Land Trust worked cooperatively with the Amherst Conservation Commission to educate the public about the values of open space. They persuaded Town Meeting to dedicate of 50% of current use penalties to conservation funds. They developed an inventory of open parcels in Town and identified prime targets for conservation, a resource still in use by the Conservation Commission decades later.

The cost of an acre of land in Amherst has certainly changed since 1975. The mission of the Amherst Land Trust has not. We continue to work to preserve and use land for the benefit of our community. We continue to work cooperatively with the Conservation Commission and other local organizations. We encourage and enable landowners with an interest in preserving land. And we invite you to join us!