The Chestnut Preserve is a southern gateway to the town of Stockbridge. It is made up of property along and in the Agawam Brook wetland areas.
This property comprises four separate parcels acquired over a period of time:
South Parcel (6.4 acres) – This was the first property procured via joint preservation efforts with the Stockbridge Land Trust, which split the cost 50/50 with the Association. It was purchased from Joseph Najmy in a deed filed April 5, 2002.
North Parcel (0.95 acres) – This parcel was gifted to the Association in a separate deed from Joseph Najmy filed April 5, 2002. It abuts the South Parcel.
Burkhard Parcel (1.00 acres) – This parcel was transferred to the Association in a deed from the Stockbridge Land Trust filed February 18, 2004. It had been acquired from Joan S. Burkhard on August 7, 2002. It abuts the North Parcel.
Klein Parcel (0.76 acres) – This parcel was transferred to the Association in a deed from the Stockbridge Land Trust filed February 18, 2004 (same deed as the Burkhard Parcel). It had been acquired from Paul A. Klein on August 12, 2002. It is mostly wetland, held for preservation purposes.
All these parcels were created in the early 1950s when Route 7 South was built behind homes along Goodrich Street. The new road split the homeowners’ properties, isolating these portions between the new road and Agawam Brook.
Stockbridge American Chestnut Preserve. The upper portion of the South Parcel is the site of a 10-year breeding project of the American Chestnut Foundation. They are working to restore the blight-ravaged American Chestnut, once the major hardwood tree in the eastern United States. An interpretive sign describes the breeding project.
Picnic Area. The lower portion of the South Parcel is a meadow along Agawam Brook. A picnic table is available there for public use.
Berle Memorial. At the southern entrance are a memorial tree and rock. The inscription on the rock reads: “PETER A. A. BERLE, 1937-2007, ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION”. Peter was instrumental in acquiring these lands. He was also a former President of the National Audubon Society.
Conservation Restriction. None at this time.
Trails. There are no trails. There is a half-moon access road off Route 7. There is also a road down to the lower meadow picnic area next to Agawam Brook.
Size. 9.11 acres
Property between and bounded by Route 7 on the west and Agawam Brook/wetlands on the east and north. Clark Road is to the south.
Starting at the Red Lion Inn, head south on South Street/Route 7 and across the Housatonic River. At the top of the railroad overpass, Ice Glen Road is on the left and a large wetland area is beyond it. Just past the wetland, the northern entrance to the property is marked by a stone post with green-leaf sign: STOCKBRIDGE AMERICAN CHESTNUT PRESERVE.
April 5, 2002
North parcel is a gift from Joseph Najmy. South parcel purchased from Joseph Najmy by the Stockbridge Land Trust and Laurel Hill Association.