A special kind of Town Conservation Land is the Wildlife Commons — a large, roadless, undeveloped parcel that contains several ecosystems, such as marsh, forest, and swamp. A parcel’s large size, combined with lack of development, makes it especially valuable for wildlife habitat, since habitats are often thwarted by roads and other development. Threatened species such as spotted turtles are especially vulnerable to road crossings. As for size, animals as small as turtles and as large as moose, as well as birds such as hawks, need to range large distances to feed and mate.
The name Wildlife Commons is a reference to the colonial New England “Town Commons,” a common pasturage, and the older English Commons, a land too wild for cultivation. We call our lands Wildlife Commons because the land is shared not only by the townspeople, but also by the animals who reside there.