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The town of Sterling is fortunate in having tracts of land protected forever from inappropriate development.  With any community, a reasoned balance of natural resource conservation, residential housing, and commercial/industrial development is both fiscally prudent and essential to our quality of life.  To date, nearly a third of our town’s land base is conserved by a combination of state agencies, town government, and our own private non-profit land trust. More is needed if we are to maintain a healthy and productive environment, but strides in recent years are cause for celebration.

The Sterling Land Trust (the Trust) has, since its founding in 1998, conserved over 200 acres of woodland, marshes, meadows, and farmland – affording Sterling residents some excellent opportunities for outdoor passive recreation, while contributing to the protection of air and water quality, wildlife habitat, food and fiber production, and educational events.

The Trust is member based, volunteer run, and reliant on support from local citizens to continue this work. It is shepherded by a dedicated Board of Directors committed to helping landowners find options for conserving their land, while providing for public enjoyment of the sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoor world. Perhaps our strongest ally is the medical profession and their ever increasing call for universal access to the restorative benefits of nature.

Take a hike. Go fishing. Carry binoculars and cameras. Bring along field guides on our birds, butterflies, trees, flowers, tracks, and fungi. Parents, bring children. Children, bring parents. Discover just beyond our doorsteps Sterling’s beautiful places and how the seasons adorn them. Know that we are fortunate to have this, for many towns and cities have sadly become nature-impoverished.

Land is protected, generally, in two ways: by placing a conservation restriction (CR) on the acreage to be preserved or by gifting or selling the land outright (FEE) to an entity dedicated to this purpose.  Under a CR, the landowner retains ownership while foregoing any future move to develop, while a FEE gift or sale transfers land ownership to those willing to hold it in perpetuity for the public good. The Trust has partnered with landowners in both ways.