Featured News | Massachusetts

Wilderness comes to Massachusetts

Say the word “wilderness” in Massachusetts and thoughts turn northward. “You must be talking about somewhere up in New Hampshire or Maine, right?”

With the protection of the 322-acre Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve in Kingston in the summer of 2018, Northeast Wilderness Trust is excited to put “wilderness” on the map in the Bay State and help southern-New England residents see the wild in their own backyards.

Muddy Pond.

Building on the successful conservation of Muddy Pond, the Wilderness Trust is thrilled to announce that we’ve added longtime Plymouth County resident, Joe Falconeiri, to our team as Southern New England Land Steward. In recent years, Joe worked closely with the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barren Alliance while serving as a Ranger and Naturalist Interpreter for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on Cape Cod. With Joe’s leadership and vision, the Trust is poised to turn Muddy Pond into a regional hub for all-things wilderness.

Painted turtle.

“Working alongside local partners, the Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve will become a vital educational resource that promotes understanding and public awareness of the social, economic, and environmental values of open space and conservation,” says Falconeiri.

Massachusetts is home to one Congressionally designated wilderness area at Monomoy Island National Wildlife Refuge off the elbow of Cape Cod, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. But residents of Greater Boston often look to northern New England for encounters with the wild, despite having significant natural areas in their neighborhood.

“Massachusetts is fortunate to have unique, publicly accessible wilderness within an hour’s drive of Fenway Park,” adds Falconeiri. “The Muddy Pond Preserve is a special property. It’s located within the globally-rare Atlantic Coastal Pine Barren ecosystem, which exists nowhere else on earth except for Plymouth County and Cape Cod, MA, Long Island, NY, and a portion of New Jersey.”

An immense vernal pool on the Preserve teems with life.

The Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve includes an outstanding 48.6-acre Coastal Plain Pond and its associated shore habitat, over two-dozen vernal pools, and numerous rare plant and animal species. The property abuts the Kingston State Forest and Nick’s Rock Road Preserve, resulting in a significant protected forest block for this rapidly-growing part of the state. Muddy Pond’s diverse geography provides important habitat for amphibians, birds, many dragonfly and damselfly species, and several species of mammals.

Southeastern Massachusetts, like many areas within an hour’s commute of Boston, has seen dramatic reductions in forest cover as a consequence of suburban sprawl. Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased the 305-acre Muddy Pond property from the Sisters of Divine Providence, who run the nearby Sacred Heart School, to ensure a forever-wild future for the landscape. The Trust purchased the property through a donation of funds from Kingston-based L. Knife & Son, one of the Sheehan family of wholesale beer distributorships.

“After growing up and spending most of my life in southern Plymouth County, I have unfortunately observed first-hand the tremendous changes that have taken place to the local natural landscape over my lifetime in this area,” says Falconeiri. “Muddy Pond Wilderness is a gift to the communities of Southeastern Massachusetts. It is a time machine to the past, and an anchor for our future.”

Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve is possible because of support from people like you. For a limited time, join us as a monthly donor and receive an autographed copy of renowned conservationist John Davis’ recent book, Split Rock Wildway: Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Corridor.

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  1. Peter C says:

    What a fabulous resource for the community – not to mention the appreciative plants and animals! Kudos to the Sheehan family for their long-sightedness and generosity!

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