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Bill Blass Preserve, New Preston

Preserve Acres: 36.5

The Bill Blass Preserve is a 40-acre farm and woodlot property on Gunn Hill Road atop New Preston Hill. The tract is adjacent to state-protected lands in a scenic and historic area in the shadow of Mount Bushnell. It sits in a compact basin between Mount Bushnell and Gunn Hill, with long views to the north, east, and southeast. The land is a mosaic of open pasture, forest, stream, pond, and edge habitats, bounded by 3100 feet of stonewalls. Farmer Gary Rebillard sustainably and humanely raises mixed-breed beef cattle and at times hogs and poultry on 21 open acres. Gary has been successfully farming the property for almost a decade.

The management plan focuses on maintaining agricultural production, protecting water features, improving the aesthetic and historic elements, and maintaining early successional wildlife habitat. Black bear, Eastern coyote, and American kestrel utilize the preserve, and the tree swallow population is remarkable. Kestrel boxes and brush piles to attract prey have been installed to aid in the restoration of this declining falcon. Widely-spaced sugar maples have been planted along the road to eventually bring back the country lane canopy that existed long ago.

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