Laurel Hill Common Lands

Laurel Hill Common Lands

The Laurel Hill Common Land consists of sixty-one acres of conservation land within the privately owned Laurel Hill housing community in North Leverett. The hill looks nearly forty miles west to Mt. Greylock and north to Mt. Snow.


When Leverett was still part of Sunderland in the early 1700’s, records indicate that the land now known as Laurel Hill was owned by Ezekial Wales. Ethan Howard, a life-long resident of North Leverett whose family owned portions of Laurel Hill in the past, relates that his grandfather as a young boy remembered the Wales family who lived on Laurel Hill. It seems that by 1850 Laurel Hill was cleared and farmed. Remains of the Wales cellar hole can be found on now adjoining land. Stone walls that in the past delineated four pastures reaching to the Montague town line on the north are partly on Laurel Hill land. Ethan Howard remembers the last major timber harvest on the hill in 1935. The hill then returned to forest until the development in the 1990’s.

In 1991, Sidney Poritz, purchased adjoining properties on Laurel Hill to develop a community of homes that would forever be surrounded by conservation land. Land that could be enjoyed by residents but could never be developed as house lots. He set aside 8 parcels, varying in size from 1 to 44 acres as Common Land. He then created a mechanism for protecting that Common Land in perpetuity: As each original homeowner purchased their property and their share of the common land, they transferred their share of the common land to the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust. When all transfer are complete, Rattlesnake Gutter Trust will become the owner of the Common Lands. The Board of Directors of the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust agreed to monitor to Common Land to assure that its conservation value is maintained. The management of the Common Land is the responsibility of the Board of Directors of the Laurel Hill Association.

Driving Directions

Laurel Hill is not currently open to the general public without prior arrangement. Laurel Hill Road is a private way.