Finnegan Orchard Conservation Restriction
For over five decades, the Finnegan family has worked tirelessly to care for and protect Harvard’s forests and farmland. The late Laurence (“Larry”) Finnegan was a co-founder of the Trust, and his sons Mark and Steve have both served as HCT Trustees in recent years. In December of last year, Mark and Hillary Finnegan added to the family’s conservation legacy by permanently protecting the scenic orchard that is part of their Oak Hill homestead by donating a conservation restriction (“CR”) to the Trust. This area of Oak Hill is identified as “distinctive” in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Scenic Landscape Inventory. While the report, Harvard’s Rural Landscape: A Case for Historic Conservation, notes, “The town’s two largest apple producers have their main plants on Oak Hill Road. With apple blossoms of spring and the ripening apples of summer and fall, this section of Harvard regularly draws residents and visitors along its narrow country roads, to see, smell, and taste the fruit of the town’s present as well as its past.” The land contains soils of high agricultural value and is adjacent to other permanently protected farmland. Carlson Orchards will continue to manage and maintain the orchard as part of their operations, as they have for the past two decades. The CR ensures this land will remain scenic open space, and permanently available for agricultural use. Future landowners will have the opportunity to join the rich agricultural heritage of the Oak Hill neighborhood, with the requisite flexibility that today’s changing climate requires. The ability of the current and future owners to maintain a homestead and small farm that is environmentally sensitive is not only consistent with historic use, but it allows this land to contribute to a resilient and sustainable future for Harvard.