Land of the Commonwealth

A Portrait of the Conserved Landscapes of Massachusetts
Captivating color photographs of the protected landscapes of Massachusetts


When The Trustees of Reservations was founded in 1891 as Americas first private, statewide conservancy, belief in the restorative powers of nature was a relatively new idea in America. Gradually, the colonial impulse to subjugate the wild was transformed into a humanistic reverence for the spiritual power of nature, and land was set aside for preservation. Thanks to the efforts of The Trustees of Reservations and many others, Massachusetts now has 1.1 million acres of land permanently protected from development more than one-fifth of the state. The custodians and promoters of this remarkable legacy of conservation include town and city governments, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, private institutions, and generous landowners, all of whom have been influenced by the work of The Trustees of Reservations. Land of the Commonwealth is the first photographic book devoted exclusively to the conserved landscapes of a single state. It is both a visual introduction to the diverse natural and cultural sites that have been protected and a tribute to the accomplishments of all those who have worked to safeguard Massachusetts's rich landscape heritage. Organized geographically into five regional sections, the book uses spectacular color photographs by Richard Cheek to capture the scenic, historic, and ecological dimensions of the conserved landscapes of Massachusetts. Each chapter begins with a description of the regions defining characteristics, followed by images of exemplary natural, designed, working, historical, and literary landscapes. Some are popular and beloved, others little-known and waiting to be discovered.

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