Historic Shattuck family farm protected

The Monadnock Conservancy has announced that a historic property in Jaffrey, the Shattuck Farm, that includes prime farmland and a diversity of wildlife habitats is now protected through conservation easements.

It is close to an 8,600-acre contiguous block of previously protected land, including Gap Mountain and Mount Monadnock. With more than a mile of undeveloped frontage along Fitzwilliam and Great roads, classic rural views of hayfields and an old house and barn, the property also provides important scenic benefits to passersby.

A total of 95.3 acres of the Shattuck Farm has been protected through conservation easements, one donated easement (on 22.13 acres) and one purchased (on 73.17 acres). The property is owned by Daniel C. Shattuck Jr. and Travis A. Shattuck.

“The completion of this project celebrates the dedication of two individuals who cared enough about their land to go through the process of ensuring that there will be farmland available for future generations,” said Ryan Owens, executive director of the Conservancy. “And it’s a testament to community pride that Jaffrey and its residents recognize Shattuck Farm as a special place and supported its conservation.”

The farm was owned from 1771 until about 1955 by Daniel Shattuck’s ancestors. Eleven years and two owners later, Shattuck bought it back and for more than 40 years he has continued the farming and stewardship tradition of his ancestors. Dan contacted the Conservancy in June 2008 with a desire to protect his family land. The Shattucks harvest their own firewood from the property. He uses the fields to grow hay, which he sells from his barn, and he has a wagon out front from which he sells vegetables, eggs and fruit. There is also a sugar maple grove on the property on which Dan once produced and sold maple syrup. Today the trees are being tapped by Josh Penick, of Hijinks Farm on Ingalls Road.

The Town of Jaffrey’s 2007 Master Plan states that “maintaining agricultural lands in Jaffrey in their current state through the use of conservation easements … should be a goal of Jaffrey in order to mitigate the impacts of development on an important town resource.”

“The Shattuck Farm property not only reflects the Master Plan, it conserves historic farmland with excellent soils and expands unfragmented land in Jaffrey,” said Carolyn Garretson, chair of the Jaffrey Conservation Commission.

The Shattuck property includes the old schoolhouse lot No. 4, where what was likely a one-room schoolhouse was in use from 1898 until 1927. There are still 4-foot-high stone posts in the ground marking the boundaries of the lot.

The conservation easements on the Shattuck Farm protect five hayfields, 8 acres of wetlands and 62 acres of woods. Two of the wetlands contain locally rare black gum trees, which are the longest-lived hardwood species in the eastern United States, with a maximum age that can exceed 650 years. The mix of landscape types allows for a diversity of wildlife. The Shattucks have seen on their property deer, bear, coyote, fox, bobcat, fisher, opossum, raccoon, porcupine, skunk, moose, beaver, turkey, pileated woodpecker, ruffed grouse and American woodcock.

The property connects five abutting wooded properties, expanding much-needed unfragmented forest habitat: the Conservancy’s Ames Forest (60 acres), the Town of Jaffrey’s Bixler Town Forest (14 acres) and three forest reservations owned by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Critical to the project’s success was a diverse set of supporters: individuals responding to an appeal from the Jaffrey Conservation Commission, the Bean Family Foundation and an anonymous family foundation. Funding also came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program, the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate (Moose Plate) program, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Monadnock Conservation Assistance Fund and the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP.

The Monadnock Conservancy, founded in 1989, is an accredited land trust and the only one dedicated exclusively to the 35 towns in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire. Its mission is to work with communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands, rural character and scenic beauty of the region. Based in Keene, N.H., the Conservancy has protected 17,000 acres of forest, farmland, shoreline, wetlands, wildlife habitat and recreation trails in the region. For more information, call 603-357-0600 or visit www.MonadnockConservancy.org.

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