Subscribe Now


Photo from The Trustees


The Trustees of Reservations has purchased a scenic and ecologically important 20.5 acre parcel inholding at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, known as the Steep Hill tract, thanks to the collaboration and generosity of hundreds of Trustees donors, members, staff and community supporters. Many years ago, the Crane family generously left their iconic 2,100-acre property to The Trustees to care for and preserve in perpetuity for the public to enjoy, but the Steep Hill parcel was left unprotected and developable.  The opportunity to purchase the property came about quickly with a short deadline. The Trustees devoted considerable time and resources to creating a fast-paced campaign to rally support around saving this critical land.

“This acquisition is a huge win for conservation on Boston’s pristine North Shore and for The Trustees in protecting the important legacy of the Crane Family at this iconic National Historic Landmark here in Ipswich,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees President and CEO.  “It also celebrates the way a large group of dedicated individuals can come together around an important conservation project in an increasingly challenging market. We are delighted to have been able to raise over 75% of our goal in a few short months and could not have achieved this milestone without the commitment and generosity of so many donors, staff, volunteers and community partners across the Commonwealth and beyond. We are eternally grateful.”

The Trustees’ campaign to protect the Steep Hill parcel was launched mid summer. The conservation effort was designed to not only protect important habitat but also to preserve the pristine beauty and serenity that visitors experience at the Crane Estate.  The Trustees received an anonymous matching challenge of up to $500,000 to kick start the campaign. In just a few short months, The Trustees have been able to raise nearly $1.9 million toward the $2.5 million goal to purchase this parcel thanks to the many people who contributed. As part of a multi-pronged campaign, Trustees’ board members supported the fundraising campaign with nearly 100% participation, volunteer ambassadors wrote numerous letters to friends and neighbors canvassing the North Shore, and a local phone-a-thon reached more than 1,700 people to raise awareness for and support of this critical land protection effort.

“The success of this land conservation milestone is a true testament to our local and statewide supporters who worked together to achieve significant progress in a short period of time,” adds Julie Ann Grant, Associate Director of Development. “This is an example of a highly collaborative, member-driven effort. We are grateful to our friends in the community, the press, and neighboring towns that cared enough about the long-term health of the entire Crane Estate and The Trustees’ mission.”

To meet the remainder of the fundraising goal in time for the closing, The Trustees made a one-time, rare loan to itself from reserves that must be replenished.  In order to do that the Trustees are still actively fundraising and encouraging people to make gifts to the Conservation Fund, which covers a broad range of land acquisition and stewardship activities.  For more information, please email or visit