Ashby Open Space & Recreation Plan
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SECTION 1

Overview

Ashby is located in the extreme northwestern part of Middlesex County, 49 miles west of Boston and 32 miles north of Worcester. Once an outpost of Lunenburg, Ashby was incorporated on March 5, 1767. The town is characterized by rugged, hilly terrain interspersed with gently rolling open fields, woodlands, stream corridors, and wetlands. Most of the town is in the Nashua River watershed with a small portion of the northwest corner in the Souhegan watershed. The town was originally agrarian, but in the mid-19th century began to harness its fast flowing streams for water powered manufacturing. Although agriculture has declined over the years as it has throughout New England, the residents of Ashby still look to their agricultural roots as part of the definition of the town.

This Open Space and Recreation Plan seeks to lay out a comprehensive description of the town as it stands today, still securely attached to its rural past and wanting to protect itself from drowning in sprawl and suburbanization. The Open Space and Recreation Committee hopes this plan, developed with input from town boards and residents, will serve as a guide to the direction and pace of development as Ashby moves into the 21st century.

The first part of the Open Space and Recreation Plan describes the community in its regional and historical context, including demographics and development patterns. The next section provides information on the environmental characteristics of the town, including its geology, topography, landscape character and scenic resources, water resources, vegetation, fish and wildlife. The plan includes a very detailed inventory of lands of both conservation and recreation interest. Both broad and specific goals have been defined based on the community survey and the committee's research. In the final sections, we describe these goals and objectives in detail and provide a five-year action plan for their achievement.

The six broad goals we have defined are:

We would like to note that this plan was done in the way things are done in Ashby - by a group of twenty people who decided that this was important to them and to their town. We are proud of our effort and its result, and offer it to our community in hopes that it will serve us all well.

Ashby Open Space & Recreation Plan
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