Burrillville Land Trust acquires Amasa Esten woodlot

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Land Trust has acquired a 4.28 acre lot off of Douglas Pike for conservation, with hopes to gain access additional properties in the area in the future.

Dubbed the “Amasa Esten woodlot,” the land-locked parcel was purchased from the Narragansett Council #546, Boy Scouts of America, and has a right-of-way easement owned by Narragansett Electric.

“The property is key to our strategic planning in this area,” said Land Trust President Paul Roselli, noting he’s hopeful that other area landowners will want to sell, donate or preserve land nearby.

The name Amasa Esten comes from the farmer who owned the property in 1843. Esten, who was also a trained artisan according to historical records, was deeded the property from his father John Esten.

Burrillville Land Trust member Betty Mencucci pointed to the well-known history of the Esten family.

“We certainly know John Esten and Amasa Esten,” Mencucci said. “Amasa Esten is buried in Cemetery #30 on Ironmine Road.”

Mencucci and husband Carlo, also a member of the trust, have been leaders in maintaining and revitalizing historic cemeteries in town.

“We reset his stone a few years ago,” Mencucci said. “We thought this would be a good name for this lot – the Amasa Esten woodlot.”

In 2002, Ronald and Sheila Koback of Attleboro, Mass. gave the wooded land to the Boy Scouts for $1.

With the new acquisition, the land trust now owns 225 acres of land, all within the town of Burrillville.

According to Roselli, the COVID-19 crisis has “galvanized” the acquisition strategy of the land trust hoping to add to its list of conservation properties.

“We always knew the importance of conserved lands – for recreation, breathable air, healthy water, a living environment,” said Roselli. “But we never imagined the need would be so painfully obvious so quickly because of the COVID-19 health emergency.”

Roselli said his organization aims to help offset impacts of climate change.

“We need a healthy environment,” he said. “The coming climate crisis coupled with a future pandemic will impact us greater than we can imagine.”

Started in 2000, the Burrillville Land Trust is an all volunteer public-charity private land trust in the town of Burrillville. The mission of the land trust is to preserve and protect the rural character of the town of Burrillville through acquisition, education and advocacy. The land trust was a leader in the demise and dismissal of the Invenergy project – a fracked gas power plant proposed for the middle of the woods in northwestern Rhode Island.

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