Southboro Open Land Foundation

people looking over meadow at sunset

SOLF Trail Use Policy for Beals Preserve

Published on May 23, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

Beals Preserve is privately owned and maintained by SOLF.
We welcome public use from dawn to dusk. Please respect our Trail Use Policy.

  • Trails are for walking, jogging, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
  • Dogs are permitted but must be on leash; dog waste must be picked up.
  • No motorized vehicles are permitted except for maintenance by SOLF.
  • No bicycles are permitted.

Click here to learn about Beals Preserve. Click here for a trail map of Beals Preserve.

Click here to view a 2018 video by Southborough Access Media, Sights in Southborough: Beals Preserve. Thank you Southborough Access Media.

Scout Troop 92 Installs Bluebird Boxes at Beals Preserve

Published on May 23, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

Local Scout Troop 92 has taken on a community service project in collaboration with the Southborough Open Land Foundation. (SOLF) Using a design created specifically for bluebirds, the scouts, under the leadership of Kevin Tyson and George Harris, carefully constructed four nest boxes and installed them at Beals Preserve. These boxes will help support the declining populations of bluebirds. SOLF THANKS THE SCOUTS OF TROOP 92!

Birding walk on April 27 – Beals Preserve

Published on April 28, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

On Saturday, April 27, SOLF hosted a birding walk at Beals Preserve. Eleven people attended the Earth Day Birding Walk at Beals Preserve. Unfortunately the presenter was unable to make it at the last minute, so trustees Sally Watters and Debbie Costine led a walk featuring some property history (like “fox hunts”) as well as some botany and using “Merlin” to identify all the audible birds in the vicinity.

Beals Preserve Maintenance & Restoration

Published on April 4, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

SOLF is undergoing some significant property restoration at the Beals Preserve. This includes the creation of a comprehensive management plan by “Conservation Works” that will include ecological resiliency. Our visitors have already noticed the beginning that has also created some pretty muddy areas in the process! We appreciate your patience!

Recently, Pete Westover from Conservation Works toured the property with Trustees Sally Watters, Debbie Costine, and Eileen Samberg. Also present were Freddie Gillespie Chair of the town’s Open Space Preservation Commission and SOLF Supporter and volunteer Kevin Sanford.

Left to right: Pete, Sally, Eileen, Freddie and Kevin.
Photo by Debbie Costine

Riding Ring Circle Reclaimed at Beals Preserve

Published on March 11, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

In the early 1900s, Margaret Leland, daughter of Bostonian Samuel Carr, and her husband Charles Leland owned Chestnut Hill Farm and what is now known as Beals Preserve. The preserve was almost devoid of trees and was pasture land. A riding ring was built for the Leland family for horse riding practice.

The riding ring circle has now been brushed and is walk-able, with the old riding ring fencing and logs to mark the way.

Riding Ring then and now.

Winter 2024 Work at Beals Preserve

Published on February 4, 2024 by Eileen Samberg

SOLF’s Beals Preserve is getting some valuable maintenance done thanks to the generosity of SOLF supporter Kevin Sanford and his brother Mike. Kevin has a long-time love of both the Beals Preserve and the Beals family. He promised his friend Whitney Beals, who died this past September 14 that he would take care of the fall mowing, but his enthusiasm is now providing so much more! Thank you Kevin, so much!

Work has continued all through January and into February, with assistance from some SOLF trustees and Scott Mooney Tree Service. In addition to fields being mowed, some damaged trees were removed, and a significant amount of unsightly brush was removed to reveal the the beautiful stone walls.

Maintenance can take its temporary toll, and there are some sections of the trails with tractor treads and mud. This spring, when the ground has dried out, those areas will be smoothed out and repaired. We realize it can be an inconvenience for now, but please bear with us.

We are working with a view towards positive conservation and land management, and preserving a mix of habitat and levels of growth is best for the area, compared to a single wooded forest.

Rock wall along Old Farm Lane

Old Farm Lane, looking north

Path between the two meadows, looking towards Old Farm Lane

View from Upper Meadow, looking north

Beals Preserve Chronolog Project

Published on December 1, 2023 by Eileen Samberg

Announcing our new citizen science tool, Chronolog, a photo stand for our visitors to take pictures from the Upper Meadow (near the Lone Wolf trail) looking north towards Main Street (Route 30). The stand is right by our new beautiful bench built and installed by Cassie Melo for her Eagle Scout project. You, the visitor, take a picture and email it to the Chronolog site, helping to produce a time lapse set of photos all taken from the same spot over time and seasons. Let the fun begin! You will receive a confirmation with a Chronolog link for the Beals Preserve time lapse photos. Learn more at https://solf.org/beals-preserve-chronolog-project/.

The Chronolog project is co-sponsored by SOLF and SWCA Environmental Consultants.

Remembering Whitney Beals

Published on October 19, 2023 by Eileen Samberg

We are sad to share that accomplished conservationist Whit Beals passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on September 14. His long career included work with the Connecticut DEP, the Roaring Brook Nature Center, the Nature Conservancy in Maryland and Boston, the Town of Wayland, Sudbury Valley Trustees, and the New England Forestry Foundation, from which he retired in 2019. He served as an MLTC Board member from 2011-2021, and was a current member of MLTC’s Conservation Advisory Council. He also served as President of the Southborough Open Land Foundation and was a member of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee for over 30 years. He was also the architect behind preservation of his family’s land – Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough. In addition, Whit recently finalized a donation of 550 acres of beautifully managed forestland in Ashburnham to New England Forestry Foundation’s Pooled Timber Income Fund. The donation ensures the property will continue to be managed for forest products as it has been since 1920 and Whit’s two sons, as the designated beneficiaries, will receive a lifetime income stream from the Fund. Whit’s wisdom, positivity and support will be sorely missed. Arrangements are pending. (Taken from Mass Land Trust Coalition Newsletter.)

Whit’s Obituary from Short & Rowe Funeral Home ©2023

You can read a copy of Whit’s obituary here on our website

or follow this link to Short & Rowe Funeral Home.

Dedication of The Whit Beals Garden at Beals Preserve

Published on September 23, 2023 by Eileen Samberg

On September 23, 2023, Freddie Gillespie, Chair of the Southborough Open Space Preservation Commission, and Sally Watters, Southborough Open Land Foundation Trustee, honored Whitney Beals’ dedication and life passion for open space by renaming the pollination garden at Beals Preserve to The Whit Beals Garden – Biodiversity Through Pollination. Whit devoted much effort in recent years to help make this garden become a reality.

Garden Talk and Plant Sale and Honoring Whitney Beals – September 23

Published on September 8, 2023 by Eileen Samberg

On September 23, from 10 am – 12 noon, there will be a Garden Talk and Plant Sale at the Native Pollination Preservation Garden at Beals Preserve. Parking is available at the small SOLF parking area off Main Street and across the street at the intersection of Northborough Road and Main Street. Additional parking is available at the Trustees of the Reservations hiking trails lot (not the farm store lot) on Chestnut Hill Road.

The Whit Beals Garden – Biodiversity Through Pollination. Please join us at 11:00 am as we honor Whitney Beals’ dedication and life passion for open space. Freddie Gillespie Chair of the Southborough Open Space Preservation Commission and Sally Watters, Southborough Open Land Foundation Trustee, will announce the new name of the garden to honor Whit who devoted much effort in recent years to help make this garden become a reality.

Read about the history of the garden here. The garden is an OSPC project in partnership with SOLF.