Amherst has a long history of preserving important ecological, agricultural, cultural, and water supply related lands. Throughout the last forty years citizens committees and town meetings have supported hundreds of different land conservation projects. Amherst remains a leader in acquiring open space and managing the lands it already owns. 
The Conservation Department is responsible for the administration of environmental laws and policies, open space protection and management, water management, preservation of natural features of the environment, and coordination for joint action with many town bodies. Other responsibilities include:

Land Management
Responsibilities related to Land Management include:
  • Managing 1,965 acres of conservation land and more than 50 open fields Maintaining some 80 miles of foot trails
  • Involvement in the acquisition of Agricultural Preservation Restrictions over 1,842 acres of farmland (with another 280 acres in progress) on 32 properties and an additional 157 acres covered by Conservation Restrictions
  • Carrying out additional land acquisition and protection projects for the Town with assistance from the Kestrel Trust, Valley Land Fund, and state and federal grants Assisting the Conservation Commission in administering State and Town Wetlands Protection statutes
  • Carrying out a forest management program on 2,500 acres of Town watershed land in Shutesbury, Pelham, Belchertown, and Amherst