Burrillville Land Trust acquires two new properties

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Land Trust has announced the purchase of two parcels totaling 5.16 acres off of Douglas Pike in Burrillville.

Former owner Madeline Hopkins said the sale of the two parcels to BLT gave her peace of mind.

“I was always worried about what would happen to those small pieces of land and how best to deal with them,” Hopkins said. “Now, I’m glad this is over.”

The two lots are now part of the non-profit private Burrillville Land Trust’s list of properties totaling nearly 228 acres in the town.

“With these two, we are slowly acquiring properties in this area that will leave a large swath of forest intact and undisturbed for a very long time,” said Paul Roselli, president of the BLT. “We are excited with this new acquisition.”

One of the parcels will add 2.23 acres to an existing land trust property called the Amasa Esten Woodlot formally owned by the Boy Scouts of America, Narragansett Council #546.

Roselli said the other parcel will be a foothold to other acquisitions in the area.

“We hope that some day, all of these existing smaller parcels and new additions will be joined together into something much larger,” he said.

The two parcels and much of the land in that area were owned by the Hopkins family for generations. Over the years, the farms were broken up into smaller farms, and then house lots.

“Once we acquired the former Boy Scouts property, we hoped to acquire property from other land owners and connect theirs to this one. It’s coming true,” Roselli said.

The Amasa Esten woodlot gets its name from the farmer who owned the land in 1843.

Betty Mencucci, who, with her husband Carlo Mencucci, has been a leader in maintaining and revitalizing historic cemeteries in Rhode Island, spoke to the history of the land.

“We certainly know John Esten and Amasa Esten,” Mencucci said. “Amasa Esten is buried in Cemetery #30 on Ironmine Road. We reset his stone a few years ago. We thought this would be a good name for the former Boy Scout lot – the Amasa Esten woodlot and now glad to see this lot gain ground with this new acquisition.”

The Mencuccis are also board members of the land trust.

Roselli notes that the COVID-19 crisis has energized the acquisition strategy of the organization 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,” Roselli said. “But we never imagined the need would be so painfully obvious so quickly because of the COVID-19 health emergency. We need a healthy environment. The coming climate crisis coupled with this pandemic will impact us greater than we can imagine. With this acquisition and others, we can help offset the impacts of the oncoming climate catastrophe.”

Started in the year 2000, the Burrillville Land Trust is an all volunteer organization with the mission of preserving and protecting  the rural character of the town through acquisition, education and advocacy.

The land trust announced a campaign to save Sweet’s Hill from development earlier this month.

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