Bronson Family Donates 14.01 Acres to form Hurlbut Woods Preserve

Dec 27, 2020

Bronson Family Donates 14.01 Acres as Part of Maple Bank Farm Preservation

The Roxbury Land Trust (RLT) is pleased to announce the donation of 14.01 acres of forested land off Good Hill Road. Howard and Cathleen Bronson of Maple Bank Farm gifted the land in honor of Cathleen Bronson’s family and the property will be known as the Hurlbut Woods Preserve.

The Hurlbut family has farmed and stewarded the land continuously in Roxbury since 1730. Cathleen Bronson’s parents, Lewis and Ethel Hurlbut, and her Aunt and Uncle, Elinor and Alden Hurlbut, started a roadside stand in 1963 to sell poultry and fruit from the farm. The stand, which became known as Maple Bank Farm, was enlarged through the years by the Bronsons as it became a Roxbury landmark and destination offering fruit, vegetables, and plants, with sheep and cattle grazing nearby.

“RLT is honored to accept this generous gift from the Bronsons,” said Julie Steers, RLT’s President. “Farming families such as the Bronsons are uniquely aware of the importance of preserving their farms including forested areas for generations to come.”

According to Cathleen Bronson, in the past trees from this woodlot were made into lumber to build farm buildings; split into rails for fencing; and used to heat homes. The Hurlbut children enjoyed watching the wildlife and exploring the forested trails. “It is with great joy that the Hurlbuts: Lewis, Ethel, Gaylord, Garry, Henry, David, Linda, Carolyn, and Tom as well as Howard and I, donate this land to the Roxbury Land Trust for all to enjoy,” said Cathleen Bronson.

Consisting of a diverse mix of hardwood species as well as some large oak and hickory mast-producing trees, the property contains intermittent streams, quartz outcroppings, and vernal pools. RLT looks forward to a time when the trails can be reopened.

“This property also serves as a wildlife corridor between existing conserved land,” noted Ann Astarita, Executive Director of the land trust. The Hurlbut Woods Preserve connects private conserved lands via a conservation easement to the south and extends just north and east with the Gavel Family Farm Preserve across Good Hill Road.

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