GLLT Properties Commission
One of the major operating entities of the Greater Lovell Land Trust is our Properties Commission. This entity grew out of a steering committee established several years ago to manage the integration of the Heald and Bradley Ponds tract, a 603-acre purchase off Slab City Road encompassing of the Bradley and Heald Ponds that was then owned by the James River Paper Company.
The Commission’s function is to:
- Establish usage guidelines.
- Promote education.
- Maintain the trail systems.
- Assure the propagation of its native wildlife with respects to each site’s ecology characteristics.
- Respect the wishes of previous owners.
- Be aware of cultural and historical usages.
- Track local community inputs.
- Be aware of abutters and neighborhood concerns.
- Continuously monitor the impact of usage on the landscape.
We Manage the GLLT Properties in the Public Interest
The Commission currently maintains eleven properties and monitors their use. Nine of the properties are reserves and two are preserves.
We are often asked how reserves differ from preserves. We distinguish them based on established practice and on research of other conservation agencies nationwide. The terms are guidelines for reconciling the dual purposes of public use and environmental protection.
A RESERVE is a property with a natural environment that is of special interest to the public, and therefore worthy of protection from development as a public trust. These are commonly working properties in which timber harvesting and a range of public activities such as hunting may be permitted.
A PRESERVE has a similar but more restrictive purpose, for it contains flora or fauna or particular ecological conditions that are so important and so fragile that they should remain perpetually undisturbed and unaltered by human intervention. Public access may be permitted, but only to the extent that the environment is not in any way compromised. Timber harvesting, for instance, normally would be an unacceptable human alteration of a PRESERVE’S ecosystem.
In some instances the status of a property is determined by the intentions of the donor. In the others, the Commission recommends the appropriate status to the GLLT after completion of investigations that include scientific appraisal of flora, fauna, and overall ecology. For every property we manage, however, our stewards are particularly concerned about promoting the public’s appreciation for enjoyment of its natural environment while protecting this legacy for the generations to come.
Through the efforts of a licensed Forest Manager, we have established a forest management plan designed to control the ecological health of each venue through selected cuttings. We do this on a timely basis with professional loggers recognized for their care of tree populations and who have demonstrated responsible cutting practices.
The Properties Commission acts as an autonomous subject of the Greater Lovell Land Trust Board of Directors, and is headed by a Director with several members, each designated as captain or co-captain of a particular venue. Captains and co-captains are responsible for the planning and implementing of stewardship goals specific to their particular venue. Each captain is further charged to recruit volunteers to assist in the execution of their responsibilities.
The Greater Lovell Land Trust Board provides this Commission with direction, guidance and funding. The Commission currently consists of eleven members who meet year-round, usually once a month.
We welcome comments on the commission’s work.