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Finishing the Job at Steadman Pond

Posted Monday, March 23, 2020

A small parcel on Steadman Pond in Monterey Completes an Important Conservation Project

Nearly twelve years ago, then-governor Deval Patrick stood on the shore of Steadman Pond in Monterey to mark and celebrate the conservation of 800 acres of forest and meadow. On that day in 2008, most of the pond’s shoreline was conserved, but a key parcel was left unprotected, leaving the property vulnerable to the impacts of development.  

In February 2020, BNRC purchased the remaining seven acres—a small piece by comparison, but one that means the entire shoreline of the pond, all the way around, will stay pristine forever.  

“We couldn’t come up with the money to buy the whole thing back then,” said BNRC Director of Land Conservation Narain Schroeder, “so we left the owners, Barclay and Kerstin Hudson, with a building lot.” The Hudsons, whose family had owned the property for generations, never built a home there, but if they or a future owner had done so, the character of this beautiful wilderness spot would be changed forever. Lawn chemicals could seep into the pond, or a roving housecat could decimate the populations of birds and other wildlife.

“I’ve been worried about that piece ever since we left it,” Schroeder says, “and when I saw that we might be able to qualify for Natural Resources Defense (NRD) funds. I called Barclay and made him an offer.” The NRD fund was set up to help protect properties in the Housatonic River watershed affected by PCBs, and this property is within that footprint. Hudson accepted the offer, the funding was secured, and twelve years after the original celebration, conservation of Steadman Pond is complete.  As with the surrounding +/- 800 acres, these seven acres will also be subject to a conservation restriction held by our partners, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. 

For his part, Barclay Hudson is glad to see the pond protected forever. In a recent email he noted that, “once again, BNRC has come through with a win-win project, and I am especially appreciative to you for your role in shepherding this project from beginning to end. I imagine our mother, too, is somewhere up there looking down and being very pleased with the way her purchase of Berkshire land back in the 1930s has now taken on a permanent conservation status—a peaceful oasis, as you described it, for all of us.” 

Over the years Steadman Pond has been enjoyed by many visitors; it’s a popular place to go for a swim, to fish, to hunt, to float, but there’s never been an improved trail.  With the acquisition of this parcel we can begin to dream of a trail that winds around the water’s edge. The backside of the pond hides a scenic jumble of rock under a dense hemlock forest. Imagine the temperature drop as you enter cool shade and then wind through mossy boulders back to where you started—or perhaps, continue west and connect to Bidwell House for a High Road adventure. Steadman Pond is a hidden gem, and with this seven-acre addition, it has been preserved, forever.