Our Mission & History

Mission

The Burrillville Land Trust is dedicated to maintaining the town’s rural character by preserving open space, protecting the beauty and viability of our farms, and preserving the woodlands, meadows, ponds and rivers around us.

History

The Burrillville Land Trust was founded in 1999 by a dedicated group of local residents to save and preserve the natural landscape and the ‘sense of place’ in the Town of Burrillville. The BLT is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) land trust in the Town of Burrillville. Like you, we value open space and appreciate all life around us. We work to help preserve and protect open space, farmlands and woodlands by accepting donations of land, by purchasing land, and through acquiring conservation easements. The very reason we live here is because of Burrillville’s long history of land preservation, the natural vistas along Rt. 102 and Rt. 107, and the serenity of small town life.

Our volunteers and members also provide programs and workshops to the residents of our town and the general public. These programs hope to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world around us. Through our programs, we educate the public about land protection as an investment for future generations, as a way to offset inheritance taxes, to provide clean air and water, and on the importance of local farms for local food production. Property given to the Burrillville Land Trust is held in a trust that is tailored to the donor’s wishes while at the same time protecting the land forever.

Accomplishments

The Burrillville Land Trust acquired its first property on May 29, 2002. Known as the Sloan Conservation Area, this 34.5 acre parcel was given to the land trust in memory of the Sloan family.

Since that first acquisition, the Burrillville Land Trust has acquired additional properties for a total of 214.51657 acres of conserved land.

In the areas of farmland protection and local food production the land trust started the Burrillville Farmers’ Market. On September 11, 2006 the Burrillville Land Trust held the very first meeting with local farmers to talk about creating a farmers’ market in town. There had not been a farmers’ market in town for nearly 80 years. As a land trust devoted to preserving and conserving land, our idea was simple, to find a way to reconnect an entire community with the land that they see around them and to connect an entire community with the people who work the land. And hopefully instill in our town’s populace the value of land as not just a commodity for development but to see land as a place to grow healthy, fresh, local food. That first meeting was the genesis of what the market has become today.

On June 2, 2007, the Burrillville Farmers’ Market had their grand opening dedicated by members of the BLT.

The BLT had an additional first for the town. On December 30, 2007, the BLT secured its first conservation easement through a donation of the development rights on 10 acres of the historic 1730 Benjamin Smith Homestead Farm. The conservation easement was the first time in our Town that a conservation easement was used to protect and preserve land and a working farm.

Our Commitment to Conservation

Today, the Burrillville Land Trust is governed by a board of directors that continues the mission and vision of the original founders.

There are many places in town that remind us of the reasons we live here. As you travel around Burrillville today, what natural beauty would you like to protect?

The Burrillville Land Trust believes that to protect our town’s natural resources, we must think globally and act locally. Our land trust takes a holistic approach to land conservation in order to help our town and community continue to enjoy and protect the quality of life we have come to enjoy. Burrillville has some of the cleanest rivers, waterways, streams and ponds in all of Rhode Island. Our drinking water is second to none. Our woodlands and rolling hills, scenic beauty and natural vistas are the envy of all those returning home after a visit. To ensure our quality of life for other generations, the BLT works to protect a number of local natural resources that we depend upon (wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, water resource areas, scenic vistas, etc.). In this work, the land trust is guided by values that include Trust, Integrity, Environmental Awareness, Financial Equity, Embracing Community as a Partner, Respect and Stewardship of the Land, and Volunteerism.

Preserve, Protect and Promote

Here are some of the issues we think about when conserving land.

  • Water Resources – BLT works to protect our drinking water by acquiring property that is used as buffers near public and private water supply.
  • Wildlife Habitats and Bio-diversity – BLT protects wildlife habitats and promotes bio-diversity by partnering with organizations such as the Natural History Survey, RI Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, The Rhode Island Audubon Society and more
  • Agricultural Resources – BLT established the first farmers’ market in town to promote local food from local farms. The reduction in driving reduces the amount of carbon dioxide put into our atmosphere.
  • Scenic Vistas – BLT helps to conserve important scenic vistas that directly contribute to the quality of life in our town.
  • Tree harvesting for local wood production – we are committed to maintaining our land in accordance with the wishes of the previous landowner. On some of our properties, we harvest trees for local wood and timber production.
  • Volunteerism – the BLT provides opportunities for current residents and those new to our area to volunteer in land preservation, environmental education and more. We make a difference in our town, and our volunteers feel proud and cheerful for adding immensely to the quality of life here.
  • Educational Opportunities – the Burrillville Land Trust offers a variety of environmental education and outreach activities to the community throughout the year.
  • Reduced Green House Gases –by preserving countless trees and plants in local forests, agricultural fields, and other open spaces, the BLT preserves many of the area’s natural “carbon sinks” that use photosynthesis to help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Land conservation also helps limit the amount of new developments, and associated greenhouse gas generators when infrastructure and municipal government improvements take place.
  • Reduced Energy Consumption – When BLT conserves local land, we directly reduce the amount of potential energy consumption in the production of homes, roads and other infrastructure required to support such development.
  • Economy – The mission and work of the BLT helps maintain the Town of Burrillville’s desirability as a place to live, work and visit. Having beauty and natural settings around us gives our area an economically competitive advantage. Land conservation also helps protect our town from expensive community service demands created by new subdivisions. When the need for more schools, police, emergency personnel, roads, trash removal and maintenance occur, taxes go up. Studies show that it costs a municipality between $1.04 and $2.00 for every dollar of tax revenue acquired to provide services to a typical subdivision.
  • Outdoor Recreation – BLT helps to create and promotes passive, healthy outdoor recreation and education opportunities. Our outdoor areas are living classrooms that help connect people to nature and thereby foster future stewards of our planet. We want our residents to go take a hike.

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