The Littleton Conservation Trust (LCT) is a private land trust formed in 1962 to promote Littleton’s rural character; to preserve its water, plant, and wildlife resources and its unique views; and to provide environmental education.
The LCT is caretaker of over 300 acres of property (gifted from far-sighted residents) on which we manage a system of trails for public use. LCT also monitors and maintains trails on over 800 additional acres of Town-owned conservation lands.
Littleton Conservation Trust is a volunteer organization. We are always in need of more volunteers from our community. If you are interested in volunteering, please see our volunteering page.
Littleton Conservation Trust Beginnings by Henry S. Harvey, Founding Trustee
The Littleton Conservation Trust celebrated its 50th year in 2012. Inspired by the example set by the Sudbury Valley Trustees, in late 1962, Herb Sontoff called a meeting of several respected citizens of Littleton to see if there were interest in forming a similar organization here. He realized that there was a good deal of open undeveloped land in town, privately owned, and in danger of uncontrolled development. Besides himself, this group consisted of Stanley Conant of the United Elastic Corporation, Frances Flaherty, Ray Gehling Jr., Henry Harvey, Lois McWilliams, Les Nelson, and Hurd Willett. Don Prouty and Bennett Sanderson gave legal advice and eventually arranged to have the Littleton Conservation Trust recognized as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Stanley Conant became its first president.
Littleton had been a small rural town of dairy farms and apple orchards. Route 495 had just been built but was little used at first. The sharp rise in the cost of building lots was a thing of the future. Some owners of undeveloped land were willing to donate land to the Trust as a charitable deduction from their income taxes. The first donation was 10 acres of forested land off Nashoba Road by John Adams Kimball and his wife Priscilla and an adjoining 14.8 acres of forest given by Josephine Whitcomb. Paul and Edith Smith of Whitcomb Ave. gave nine acres of their lower meadow bordering Beaver Brook. They persuaded their neighbor, Bert Webster, to sell 11 adjacent acres along the brook for $50 an acre. Later the Smiths put conservation restrictions on other sections of their land. Ruth Frost gave two small parcels at the junction of Newtown Road and Nashoba Road. The Frost family later gave nine more acres in this same area. Harry and Virginia Sprong gave two triangles at the junction of Harwood Ave and Tahattawan. They later gave 39 additional acres behind their house adjacent to the Newtown Hill Conservation Commission land. What is now the Sarah Doublet Forest came from Fanny Knapp and Edith Jenkins, two retired Childrens’ Hospital nurses. They acquired a 96 acre hilltop farm at a bargain price and worked for John Morrison. Friends, especially Lois McWilliams, persuaded them to deed their land to the Trust. Actually Fanny Knapp transferred her half during her lifetime requesting only that there be no trails built during her lifetime. Later the whole property with the cottage for a caretaker family came to the Trust. Chuck Roth, Director of Education for the Mass Audubon Society planned and developed the Wunnehew and Tattatiquinea Trails. When the Morrison Orchard was bought by the Town, additional access was built on Nagog Hill Road leading to the Sarah Doublet Forest via the Edgar Bell Trail.
Over the years others have given land or placed conservation restrictions. Among them are the Cobb Trustees, Edith Smith, Vera Cohen, and the New England Forestry Foundation. Roger Conant gave Conant Park off White Street in memory of his wife. It is one end of the Two Brothers Trail which goes all the way to Long Lake. Between the Town’s Conservation Commission and the Littleton Conservation Trust, Littleton has many excellent forest, meadow and hilltop trails on Oak Hill, Newtown Hill, the Cobb property, the Morrison Orchard extension, and thanks to The New England Forestry Foundation, the Prouty Woods.