Spring Brook Farm gets
protection from development

Spring Brook Farm, an oasis of open space at 8015 Turin Road, will be protected from development through an agreement with the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust.

The 137-acre Spring Brook Farm just north of the city’s inside district has it all — from working farmlands, managed woods, a section of the state snowmobile corridor, a vast array of wildlife and plenty of history, trust officials said.

Charles and Virginia Batchelder can trace the ownership back to the original land grant that was given by the Queen of England in 1705. It has been in their family since 1925, when her grandfather farmed the land. The farmhouse, which is on the State Register of Historic Places, is the second oldest house in Rome in its original location.

Working with Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, the Batchelders have entered into an agreement to ensure that the view from Route 26 will always be this open space oasis.

"I have peace of mind knowing that it will always be free from the surrounding development pressure, and that’s a huge relief," Virginia said.

The abundant water resources on this property enhance its conservation value. Wood creek and several tributaries flow through the property as well as a large wetland complex and numerous springs that flow out of the ridge. Virginia is passionate about the wildlife, especially the birds. She has created gardens that are Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation, and has participated for years in the Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count.

Tug Hill Tomorrow’s primary tool for permanently protecting land is the conservation easement. This is a voluntary, legally binding agreement between the landowner and THTLT that permanently protects the land resources from inappropriate development by limiting the activities that will take place on the property in the future. It allows the land to remain privately owned and on the tax rolls, and used for purposes that are consistent with the conservation values of the property.

All but 31/2 acres with the house are included in the development restriction.

With the completion of the Spring Brook Farm Easement, THTLT has permanently protected over 8,500 acres in and around the Tug Hill Region.

THTLT is a nonprofit regional organization that works with private landowners to protect and foster responsible stewardship practices of working forest, farm, recreation and wild lands within the Tug Hill Region.

The 2,100 square-mile Tug Hill Region covers parts of Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and Oswego Counties. THTLT provides conservation planning, land registry and conservation easement programs for landowners, as well as educational materials and presentations for groups. For information visit www.TugHillTomorrowLandTrust.org, email to thtomorr@northnet.org, write P.O. Box 6063, Watertown NY 13601 or call 779-8240.