Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates New 278-Acre Wildlife Management Area in Ashfield/Hawley
Farrell Family's bequest will protect wildlife habitat, provide recreational open space
PLAINFIELD - Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's unprecedented commitment to land conservation, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin today joined with state officials, conservation organizations and community leaders to honor Calvin and Annette Farrell, formerly of South Easton, for a generous bequest, which made possible the acquisition of a 278-acre tract of wildlife habitat in the towns of Ashfield and Hawley.
Under the terms of his will, Calvin Farrell, a lifelong sportsman and outdoor enthusiast, stipulated that a significant portion of his estate, built in partnership with his wife Annette, be given to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's (MassWildlife) Wildlands Fund for the acquisition of wildlife habitat and recreational land in western Massachusetts that would forever be available for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
"The gift of land or funds to protect critical habitat does more for wildlife conservation than anything else people can do," said Commissioner Griffin. "I would like to thank the Farrell family and especially recognize Calvin and Annette Farrell for their foresight and incredible generosity."
The Farrells' donation to the DFW's Wildlands Fund, which is dedicated to the acquisition and protection of wildlife habitat in Massachusetts, has allowed the DFG and MassWildlife to create the new Ashfield-Hawley Wildlife Management Area.
Thanks in part to Governor Patrick's land conservation initiative, Massachusetts now has more than 1.2 million acres permanently protected. Of those parcels protected in the past four years, 88 percent of the lands conserved have been in critical habitat areas - much more than in the past. Over the last four years under the leadership of Governor Patrick, the administration has worked to protect more than 13,000 acres in 10 Habitat Reserves.
The Ashfield-Hawley property is a 278-acre parcel of woodland, primarily northern hardwoods, which has over 3,000 feet of frontage along the West Branch of the Swift River. Not to be confused with the Swift River that emerges from Quabbin Reservoir, this Swift River begins in Hawley and flows into the East Branch of the Westfield River in the town of Cummington. This western Swift River is an excellent cold water stream, which is stocked with salmon fry annually as part of MassWildlife's salmon restoration effort. The river is also stocked with trout. The corridor along the river has been identified as priority habitat. The combination of forest and wetlands on the property provides excellent habitat for many wildlife species including bear, moose, turkey, grouse, deer, beaver, bobcat and others.
"The Farrell's gift is a perfect example of the commitment outdoorsmen have to conservation," said MassWildlife Director Wayne MacCallum. "Many of the successful conservation programs in the nation have the support of outdoor enthusiasts, like the Farrells who recognized a need to protect wildlife and the land on which it depends. We honor the Farrell family for their generous gift and for ensuring future generations enjoy wildlife and related recreation in this area."
The Wildlands Fund, established in 1990 through the efforts of Massachusetts' sportsmen and others, is dedicated to the acquisition of land for wildlife habitat and for wildlife-related recreation.
The new Ashfield-Hawley WMA is situated among other parcels of conserved land. It abuts two tracts protected by Agricultural Protection Restrictions and is located across Plainfield Road from the 5,000-acre Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest in Hawley.
"I would like to add my thanks to the Farrells for their generous gift," said Senator Benjamin B. Downing. "Future generations will be able to hunt, fish and pursue other outdoor activities for years to come thanks to their foresight and commitment. We thank them for that and commit to redouble our public efforts to complement their private generosity."
The Farrells were recognized at a ceremony at the Ashfield Rod and Gun Club at which members viewed the unveiling of a plaque honoring the couple that will be permanently mounted at the entrance to the new Wildlife Management Area.
DFG is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's lakes and ponds.