Conservation Restriction

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Conservation for kids and community—for centuries to come.

In collaboration with members of our local communities, Hale has embarked on an effort to permanently protect its land from any potential future development.

Upcoming Information Sessions

Join Executive Director Eric Arnold for coffee and conversation every other Wednesday morning to stay up to date on Hale’s conservation restriction efforts. These are be held from 7:30–8:30 AM at Hale (80 Carby Street, Westwood). Click here to see upcoming dates and sign up.

Other events are being hosted at private homes. If you are interested in hosting an information session for your friends or neighbors, email cr@hale1918.org to learn how you can help spread the word about our conservation efforts and what they mean for Hale’s programs and property.

If you would like to receive regular email updates (every 2–4 weeks) regarding the conservation restriction effort, email cr@hale1918.org with the subject line “CR Update Emails.”

The Future

Hale’s century-long commitment to reimagining learning, protecting nature, and building community has never been stronger. Our work has impacted millions of lives and continues to be rooted in the belief that nature, education, and recreation inspire us to learn, empower us to lead, and challenge us all to create a world in which people, place, and purpose are united. It’s with that in mind that we look to the future.

Hale may be a small nonprofit, but our community is large. It includes residents of Dover and Westwood, as well as friends and neighbors from surrounding cities and towns. Our longstanding ties to Boston’s people and institutions run deep, and our programs serve tens of thousands of people every year.

Everyone in this larger community deserves a Hale education, and we’ll ensure they get one by preserving our land, expanding our programs, improving our facilities, and making outdoor learning accessible to all. Achieving this goal will require immense time, effort, and support. To realize Hale’s full potential, we must leverage all of our resources.

The Land

Hale’s historic property is a resource we believe should be available to all. Our 1,000+ acres of forests, ponds, and meadows support learning, reflection, discovery, and wellness. Cities and towns benefit from open spaces such as Hale—surrounding property values tend to be higher as a result of the cleaner air and water they produce, opportunities for passive recreation they provide, and natural beauty and health benefits they offer.

While Hale’s land is in many ways priceless, its value is not incalculable, and people are often surprised to learn that it is not protected from development. In the 1950s, our Board of Directors was forced to consider selling parcels to sustain the organization. As recently as two years ago, the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program spared it from a similar fate during the pandemic. Today, our board is pursuing ways to fund the achievement of Hale’s long-term vision and mission by unlocking the value of Hale’s land.

The Plan

Hale is committed to making innovative education available to the communities we serve. To do this, Hale needs funding—tens of millions of dollars of it. Much of it will come by way of private philanthropy, but a sizable portion of it must be realized through our most valuable asset: our land.

Hale’s Board of Directors could simply subdivide and sell parcels to private buyers, but would strongly prefer an alternative solution that allows Hale’s current property to remain intact. In the spirit of being a good neighbor and protecting nature, it presented the Towns of Dover and Westwood with an opportunity to place a conservation restriction (CR) on the property.

Doing so would be the first step in permanently protecting more than 1,000 acres in what could be the region’s largest conservation project in many years.

If Dover and Westwood seize this opportunity:

  1. Each town’s leadership will determine the best way to support this effort
  2. Residents will likely be asked to invest in permanently protecting Hale’s land
  3. Funds will lay the groundwork for an endowment that, combined with private philanthropy, will sustain Hale and enable it to expand programs that serve our children and communities

Without the towns’ support, Hale’s Board of Directors will have no other option than to consider selling land (at market value) to meet the organization’s optimal need.

Take Action

Act now if you’d like to see the towns of Dover and Westwood seize this opportunity to invest in a conservation restriction, preserve Hale’s land, and sustain educational and recreational programs for generations to come.

Submit a question or suggestion below, and thank you in advance for your support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hale selling land?

Our focus today is land preservation through partnership with our local communities, but if municipal funds do not materialize, our Board of Directors may be forced to sell a portion of Hale’s land to achieve its mission and goals.

Most of Hale’s property is unprotected, and for several decades, our Board explored ways to prevent its development by placing it under a CR. Doing so would provide the towns and donors with an opportunity to invest in the protection of Hale’s acreage and ensure the organization’s long-term financial viability. Put simply, private philanthropy and town support would unlock the value of Hale’s land and result in a CR that protects the property in perpetuity. Hale would maintain the property as a natural resource even as it continues to deliver world-class educational and recreational programs.

Absent sufficient private and municipal funding, the Board may choose to sell land as the best alternative to further our mission and ensure long-term financial stability.

Why is Hale pursuing this now?

After relying on program revenue to fund operations for more than 100 years, Hale must tap into the value of its land to 1) meet growing demand, 2) cover increasing expenses, and 3) provide equitable access to its facilities and services. The organization’s current leadership is making this effort a priority and, despite significant economic inflation since it began, is still willing to offer this deeply discounted opportunity to the community. The current offer will no longer be an option after 2023.

What is the financial structure of the arrangement?

Hale is committed to raising $46MM to 1) support program and facility improvements, 2) create financial stability, and 3) protect the land, if possible. The organization has committed to raising $26MM on it own and to date has raised just over $19MM. The towns of Dover and Westwood are being asked to contribute $10MM each. These funds will permanently protect the land, guarantee public access (Hale is currently private property), and bolster Hale as an outdoor community and recreation center for the local area.

Are The Trustees of Reservations involved?

Yes, we currently believe The Trustees of Reservations will co-hold the conservation restriction (along with the towns) and will be responsible for monitoring it. They will not have oversight of Hale’s programs and will not own the land; they will simply make sure  the property is maintained as outlined in the legal conservation restriction agreement.

Is the Westwood Land Trust or Dover Land Conservation Trust involved?

Yes, both organizations are very supportive of this effort. In fact, there is specific information about the project on the Westwood Land Trust’s website here.

How can I help?

We’d love for you to join the Hale community in preserving our land, and there are several ways you can help: Voice your support for a conservation restriction by writing letters to members of Westwood’s and Dover’s select boards, make your gift to Hale’s annual fund, and spread the word in your community.

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