On a beautiful Saturday morning, seventy local residents and visitors gathered for the fifth anniversary walk of the Trust’s popular and now traditional annual event.
Starting from the Congregational Church, where Trust President Denny O’Connell noted the steeple clock strikes the hours in eight bells–the only church in the country that continues this early American coastal town tradition–we proceeded to Dr. Clarence J. Bell Square at the corner of Main street and Whit’s Lane. There Trustee Marcia Seeler spoke about the early century significance of the site, dedicated in 1982 to the memory of Dr. Bell, a family physician whose home and office were at that location.
At Uncle Tim’s Bridge we heard an informative talk on the ecology of the Duck Creek tidal marsh by Bob Prescott, Director of Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Janet Erickson then spoke about the history and reconstruction of Uncle Tim’s Bridge, a local historic landmark named after Timothy A. Daniels who died in 1893. Trustee Frank Corbin then led the walkers around Hamblen Park, also known as Cannon Hill where he described plans to rectify serious erosion on the south slope facing the marina, clear underbrush and improve the vistas from this popular walking area.
Denny O’Connell then led the group along the shore of Duck Creek to the Trust’s most recent acquisition, a one acre former residential property behind the Mobil Station on Route 6. He spoke about how the Trust is dedicated to preserving land such as this for generations to come. There’s a story elsewhere in this newsletter about the property. We then circled back along the railroad dike to where the former bridge crossed Duck Creek. There local historian and author David Wright talked about the history of the town along Commercial Street and the role the early railroad played in tourism and the commercial shellfish industry of Wellfleet.
Over the past five years we have visited a different area of our town in places that you may not normally visit and always with individuals who could speak with knowledge about the history and significance of the area. The first walk, in 2007, covered Griffin Island, followed in 2008 by an exploration of Bound Brook Island. In 2009 we walked through the National Seashore where Henry David Thoreau walked over 150 years ago with a stop by the Oysterman’s home where he stayed. In 2010, starting at the Fox Island Marsh and Pilgrim Spring Woodlands Conservation Area we walked along the shoreline of Blackfish Creek and Drummer Cove ending at the Pond Hill School in South Wellfleet.
We’re already thinking about the 2012 walk–any suggestions? And please plan to join us next September.
Nearly 60 walkers took part in the Fourth Annual WCT Walks in Wellfleet on September 11, 2010. The three mile walk started at the Fox Island Marsh/Pilgrim Springs Upland Conservation Area in South Wellfleet, proceeded to Whale Bone Point and then followed a path along Black fish Creek to Pleasant Point and around Drummer Cover to the recently acquired Town owned conservation area and ended at the Pond Hill School. At points along the way there were talks on the history of the area and conservation efforts that have preserved this land for future generations.
The walk took place with about 40 walkers – fortunately after the rain at 4 am this morning and before the rain at 2 pm this afternoon. A great day – in addition to the three mile walk, John Portnoy spoke on the geology of the Cape and the origin of the ponds, Jeff Hughes, Wellfleet Herring Warden spoke at Herring Pond on the life cycle of herring and Ginie Page read from Thoreau’s book when he visited the Oysterman’s House on Williams Pond. A terrific day. Hope you’ll join us next year.
Held to celebrate the 25th anniversary and conduct annual business – another successful year for the trust.
See presentation slides.
A staged dramatic reading of a Stephen Most play depicting the relationship, and sometimes conflict, among three giants of the late nineteenth century conservation movement. Wellfleet resident and experienced stage performer Stephen Russell played Scottish immigrant John Muir, one of the first modern preservationists. Eastham resident and actor Jack Kerig played Teddy Roosevelt, and Zachary Soule Philbrook, a local teacher, director and stage performer played Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The play focused on the differing views of Muir and Pinchot on land preservation, their common interest against the reckless exploitation of natural resources, and Roosevelt’s pivotal leadership role in establishing National parks. It was an unforgettable performance.
On an overcast, and sometimes drizzling Saturday morning, over fifty walkers gathered at the Atwood Higgins House on Bound Brook Island to participate in the second annual Wellfleet Conservation Trust “Walks in Wellfleet.”
Park Ranger Brent Ellis and National Seashore volunteers provided historical perspective and informative anecdotes about life on the island in the 1800s. The event included a tour of the Atwood Higgins House, a visit to the site and monument commemorating the Island Schoolhouse which was built in 1840, the Lombard Family Cemetery and overlooks of Cape Cod Bay.
Walkers chose among three walks of varying length. As with the walk on Griffin Island in 2007, the feedback from veteran Wellfleetians and visitors alike was positive without exception, and reinforced the conservation mission of the Trust, the significance of our local history and the importance of the National Seashore as a resource to be preserved, protected and enjoyed by all.
Mr. Seth Rolbein, Editor of The Cape Cod Voice, discusses the Cape Cod National Seashore.
View PowerPoint Presentation by President Denny O’Connell
The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts bestowed the 2007 Award for Excellence in Open Space Preservation to Robert Hankey, a resident of Wellfleet and one of the original founders of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust.
Robert’s fame in conservation circles is well known. He served as President of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust from 1990 to 2003. Under his guidance the WCT grew from a fledging non-profit to a major force for conservation in the Town. He led the successful initiative to designate Wellfleet Harbor as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and his strong partnership with the Town Open Space Committee led to many of the Town’s conservation purchases. His personal contacts with local private landowners led to dozens of land gifts to WCT and he has strongly supported and worked on behalf of regional cooperation on land conservation.
For over 30 years, Robert and his wife Eleanor Stefani have operated The Colony of Wellfleet, a retreat of cottages nestled on the slopes off Chequessett Neck Road designed by famed architect Nathaniel Saltonstall.
On Sunday, September 16, 2007, seventy five individuals participated in the first annual “Walks in Wellfleet” sponsored by the Trust in cooperation with the Cape Cod National Seashore, Herring River Restoration Project and the Town Open Space Committee. There were four walk options available ranging from one mile to three and three quarter miles along different paths throughout Griffin Island, Wellfleet.
But this was more than just walks over the dunes and through the woods. Following a brief orientation by Denny O’Connell, Trust President, three highly professional and knowledgeable National Seashore ecologists, John Portnoy, Stephen Smith and Evan Gwilliam each led walkers through different areas of Griffin Island and gave presentations along the way on the Herring River Restoration Project, cultural landscape restoration, upland plant and marsh ecology, and the historical development of the land.
The walks were acclaimed by the participants to be highly informative and enjoyable because of this unique educational feature and the opportunity to see and learn about a portion of Wellfleet that many, even a few long-time Wellfleet residents had not visited.
See September walk brochure.
Fox Island Marsh – Pilgrim Springs Woodlands – Whale Bone Point
Aerial photograph taken from above Indian Neck, looking east across Fox Island, Fox Island Marsh and Conservation Trust Land, Black Fish Creek, Pleasant Point, and Drummer Cove to the Atlantic Ocean at the top of the picture.
At right shows the 181 acre conservation area that has been preserved through the efforts of the Town of Wellfleet, the State Fish and Game Department and the Wellfleet Conservation Trust since 1992. It is the largest publicly-accessible conservation area on the Outer Cape outside of the National Seashore.
The left side of the photo shows 71 acres on the south end of Indian Neck owned by the State Fish and Game Department and Field Point owned by the Trust. Fox Island is clearly shown in the center of Fox Island Marsh. On the right is Whale Bone Point and the upland known as Pilgrim Springs Woodlands.
Two miles of public walking trails have been established and viewing benches installed.