Carlisle still appears very much a country town. Fields and weathered barns mark the landscape in the center as well as the outskirts of town. There is much undeveloped land of a typically New England nature, from wetlands and cranberry bog to rocky pasture and woodlot. Carlisle's farming history and practice of setting aside large pieces of conservation land has made the town a major link in the green belt that lays within the industrial perimeter of Routes 95 (128) and 495.
The character of the population has changed greatly since World War II. What was once a farming community is now a suburb of Boston and Lowell, with growing numbers of professional people from the academic, scientific and business communities choosing to settle here. Newcomers, however, have joined longtime residents in their preference for a rural rather than an urban way of life. Carlisle has chosen to grow slowly and idiosyncratically and to keep many of the values of its rural past.
Approximately 25% of the town is protected conservation land. The town owns about 730 acres, plus 151
acres of the Cranberry Bog, which includes an operating cranberry bog. The state and the U.S.
Department of the Interior owns 914 acres and 230 acres. There are also private lands permanently
preserved as open space. Carlisle's conservation land protects groundwater, wildlife, open space, farm,
and forestland, and it provides a setting for outdoor recreation.
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