Salisbury Association adds 48-acre preserve

Elaine and Lou Hecht

Photo submitted

Salisbury Association adds 48-acre preserve

The Salisbury Association recently closed on a new preserve of 48 acres on Route 112.

The land was purchased from the John, Mary and Helen Belter family using a combination of grants: the state’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Highlands Act funding, and a generous grant from the Anne and Rollin Bates Foundation.

To honor their long and outstanding contributions to the Salisbury Association and the town, the new preserve has been named in honor of Lou and Elaine Hecht.

For decades, the Hechts have been stalwart volunteers for the Salisbury Association. Lou was a longtime trustee and co-chaired the Salisbury Association Land Trust for 17 years. Elaine continues to be instrumental in the Land Trust’s outreach to local schools and the community.

Together, they have created special educational exhibits in the Academy Building, including “Light on the Land,” “Follow the Forest,” “Go Native” and “Birds in Crisis.” When 300-year-old oak trees fell at the Town Grove, the Hechts had a conference table made from the wood. The Salisbury Association and its committees meet around this table located on the second floor of the Academy Building.

The Hecht Preserve has high ecological value with core forest, rugged slopes and bedrock exposures. A pure, cold-water stream traverses the property, draining to the Salmon Kill and providing habitat for native fish.

Two critical habitats and seven state-listed species of animals and plants have been documented at or near the property. The new preserve abuts the town’s Wack Forest, long a beloved site for Girl Scouts’ camping and other activities. It nearly doubles the size of this protected area and will have a new hiking trail for the public to enjoy. Wack Forest, named for the founder of Field & Stream magazine, will be the point of access for the new preserve.

The Salisbury Association plans to have the new hiking trail ready for use in summer 2024.

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