History of the NRTP
In the early 1970's Bill and Lucy Goddard had many conversations with neighbor and friend Marcia Benes about their desire to conserve their lands for future generations. They explored many options, but it was soon apparent that the only way to preserve their land forever as a wildlife sanctuary was to start a local nonprofit land trust. A local land trust could ensure that the land would never be converted to other uses and could manage the land to enhance wildlife habitat values over human recreation. I volunteered to prepare the application for federal non profit, tax exempt status, and recruited a core of friends and neighbors* to join our new organization. The Natural Resources Trust of Plainville (NRTP) was incorporated in 1977, but did not receive tax exempt status until 1984. According to the Land Trust Alliance , there were fewer than 450 local and regional land trusts nationwide in 1982, but by 2005, that number had grown to over 1500. By 2003, over 9.4 million acres of land had been protected by land trusts. Though small, we are part of a growing International movement.
Over the next few years, the Goddards made several gifts to the NRTP, which form the core of our land trust and protect two distinct and special areas, the historic Benjamin Shepard Mill ruins, and the Goddard Sanctuary.
Ruth and Reginald Keyes were longtime neighbors of the Goddards and early members of the NRTP. Sharing a deep love of their land, they followed the example set by Bill and Lucy and donated 15 acres to the trust (Pigeon Hill) . Their generosity was followed by that of NRTP members Thomas and Isabell Hunter, (Pitcher Brook Access), expanding NRTP presence beyond the immediate Shepardville neighborhood to the west side of town.
NRTP's most recent gift was Maple Swamp, by Robert F.Anderson Jr.. This red maple swamp is contiguous with Plainville Conservation Land.
Plainville has been very fortunate that a small number of residents have cared enough about the future to protect this land for generations to come. Thirty years since we first formed to help protect the Goddard lands, we have grown to 70 acres. In an era when the President of the United States proposes to sell off National Forests to help pay off the national debt, the role of non-profit land trusts has never been more important.
* Founding Officers of the NRTP:
Marcia Benes - President
Dag Hultgreen - V. President
Michael Irvine - Clerk
Other members witnessing incorporation: