The Mission of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is to conserve the rural character of Williamstown: to enable working landscapes such as forests and farms; to promote land stewardship; and to connect the community to the region’s natural heritage.
As a land trust, our Mission since we were founded in 1986 has been to preserve open and accessible space for the benefit of present and future generations.
Through educational programs and other related initiatives, we also serve as a catalyst to increase public awareness over land-use issues and options, to promote responsible land stewardship, and to connect the community to the region’s natural heritage.
On a selective basis and as our resources permit, we also cooperate with other organizations to support affordable farming and housing projects.
In support of this Mission, we are committed to:
- Focusing selectively on land with important conservation value, land in close proximity to other preserved open space, and working landscapes such as farms and forests, while establishing public access wherever possible.
- Offering people of all age groups varied education programs, workshops and events to learn about our natural and cultural heritage, and to encourage them to get out and experience the land firsthand;
- Taking positions on appropriate and sustainable land-uses for people in the community to consider when facing inevitable and conflicting pressures around these options; and
- Engaging in other outreach initiatives to inform people in the community about the work of Rural Lands, to encourage them to become supporting members, and to underscore that protecting the special quality of life in Williamstown is a responsibility we all share.
Conservation and affordable housing
The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation has had a long tradition of supporting land conservation and affordable housing projects. The conservation of our land resources and affordable housing are not mutually exclusive. We favor examining and evaluating all options on previously developed municipal property, the acquisition of other privately owned sites, and the pursuit of infill before conservation lands are removed from conservation status.
Since concrete proposals accompanied by realistic cost estimates are not yet available, we believe it is premature to remove land from conservation status until such analysis for all alternatives is complete.
In the case of withdrawal of land from conservation, we strongly favor a no-net loss policy, replacing any removed lands with new land of equal conservation value and permanent conservation status.