By Frances Laird and Patrice Johnson
Legacy Land Conservancy has purchased the three-acre parcel along Mich. 106 (Main Street), adjacent to the Beckwith Nature Preserve on the east side of Stockbridge. The acquisition, finalized last fall, will provide an eastern access point to the trail as well as parking for hikers and bicyclists using the nearby Lakeland Trail system.
“This purchase took many years,” Campbell Laird said. “It will provide much more convenient access to the Beckwith Preserve and parking for Lakeland Trail users.” Prior to the purchase, roadway access and parking were only available on the western side of the Preserve across from the high school. Laird said the purchase price of $18,000 amounted to the property’s appraised value.
Legacy, the owner of the now 33-acre Beckwith Preserve, estimates a cost of approximately $64,000 to develop the site. The figure includes the $18,000 purchase price, grading and surfacing a gravel-covered parking area, fencing, signage, permits and labor and project management costs for Legacy staff members.
“It’s not yet linked directly to Lakeland Trails,” Laird said, though its walking distance along Mich. 106, and a trail that would connect the new access/parking area to the Lakeland Trail is currently under consideration.
An energetic band of volunteers has already cleared the site of trees, shrubs, invasive plants, old wire fencing and other detritus left from the commercial usage of the land.
In kind goods and services have already contributed $10,000 to the project.
Donations from the Stockbridge community, whether in money to the Legacy Land Conservancy (legacylandconservancy.org) or in labor, are welcome in order to see this project to its finish.