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Herring on the run

Blueback herring on the Herring River, Wellfleet
Blueback herring on the Herring River, Wellfleet

The Herring River in Wellfleet runs through, adjacent to, or very close by many WCT properties. Most notably it forms the small valley beneath the new Herring River Overlook . It’s appropriate to honor the river together with this World Fish Migration Day.

The lilacs are blooming and the buttercups brighten the river banks, so the blueback herring are swimming upstream to spawn. We counted 89 in one ten-minute stretch this week.

The herring do surprisingly well, despite the constricted tidal flow in the river. Their biggest problem comes at the culverts. Fortunately for them, the one near our count site did not have a snapping turtle, raccoon, or crow waiting on the upstream side.

Culvert on the Herring River, to be enlarged as part of the project to restore the Herring River estuary.
Culvert on the Herring River, to be enlarged as part of the project to restore the Herring River estuary

We love seeing the herring. They tell us that the river, although damaged, is not dead.

A friend and neighbor says that she loves the herring, too, especially when they’re pickled with peppercorns and bay leaves, then served with onions. That was possible in the days when the river flowed freely. Our hope is that fishing, shellfishing, birdwatching, boating, and more can return when the river is restored.

Note: Portions of this article are cross-posted on chipbruce.net.

Join the Conservation Trust for an Earth Day walk

Come celebrate Earth Day, Friday, April 22 with the Wellfleet Conservation Trust.

We are offering a walk through a portion of the Fox Island Marsh & Pilgrim Springs Woodland Conservation Area at 10 a.m. Meet at the parking area off Baker Rd. in South Wellfleet.

The one-hour walk features the marsh and harbor views and background information on the area. This mildly challenging walk includes up and downhill terrain. Sturdy walking shoes are advised.

Wellfleet Conservation Trust Annual Meeting via Zoom *UPDATED*

Our previous post and email notification failed to include the meeting date and time.

When: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 5-6 pm, Eastern time

Please pre-register at info@wellfleetconservationtrust.org. We will give you the Zoom connection details via email.

Please join us for a focused Annual Meeting on your Wellfleet Conservation Trust. Due to pandemic concerns, we have not been able to meet in person since our August 2019 Annual Meeting, but we have some statutory requirements, so we hope you can join us via Zoom. There will be a brief review of recent activities, a video presentation of our new Herring River Overlook site, and election of Trustees for terms ending in 2023 and 2024.

We miss meeting in person but plan for a regular, in-person annual meeting in the summer of 2022.

Places to go for a walk

For more than 15 years, the Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) and two Wellfleet-town committees have worked in partnership to provide walking trails on designated conservation lands. All of these trails are outside of the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary of Mass Audubon who have some of their own nice trails. On the WCT website, see the down-loadable map called “Wellfleet Open Space and Conservation Lands” for all the conservation land in town.

WCT works most closely with the Open Space Committee (OSC) which is charged with evaluating town owned lands and designating additional lands for acquisition for conservation purposes, including installation of trails, i.e. “passive recreation”. The OSC has had its eye on currently town-owned land which would have a best use as conservation land whether just for pure conservation purposes without trails, or with trails. The OSC then works through Town Meeting to get the land placed under the care and custody of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom).

This has been a very effective partnership leading to trails on eight of the areas designated for conservation. In these areas, the underlying lands are owned variously by WCT and the Town, under the care and custody of ConsCom. The underlying ownership divisions on the land are intentionally invisible so the public can enjoy the underlying conserved land without interruption. The land is cared for by feeownership for conservation purposes and protection under contractual conservation restrictions. In some places the land is owned by the Town with a conservation restriction held by WCT. In other places, it is the reverse. See the map below called WCT and Town Conservation Trails which shows the locations of these trails.

The partnership then maintains the trails through work parties consisting of the WCT trustees, and volunteers, along with members of the town committees. There are times when the efforts are greatly supplemented by the members of AmeriCorps of Cape Cod who bring skills and endurance through youth and contagious enthusiasm.

There are trail maps and guides, in hard copy, that are provided at various public locations such as the Library and Town Hall. Also, these trail maps and guides are available for download or printing from the WCT website.

Enjoy your walks in Wellfleet. There is a lot to appreciate.

WCT and Town Conservation Trails

WCT 14th Annual Walk Cancelled

After much consideration in regards to the latest Wellfleet Board of Health Covid requirements and recommended guidelines, the Wellfleet Conservation Trust has decided to cancel our annual guided walk scheduled for 11 September.

Normally the walk has involved over 75 people. The Health Board recommends that all people not from the same household should maintain six feet of distancing and when closer, masks should be worn, even outside and regardless of vaccination status. Trying to keep six feet physical distancing and masking among our normal numbers would be extremely difficult and would eliminate the group discussions and socializing that walkers have enjoyed in the past.

The walk we planned this year will still be there next year when we will try again. We support the Board of Health in their concern for keeping Wellfleet a safe healthy community.

Good wishes for good health.

Wellfleet Conservation Trust 2021 Annual Meeting Postponed

The Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) has reluctantly decided to postpone its in-person Annual Meeting which was scheduled for Wednesday August 18, 2021. This decision was stimulated by the Wellfleet’s Board of Health issuance of further COVID-protection procedures associated with the current level and trends of COVID in our community. 

WCT Trustees were looking forward to interacting with our members and explaining the progress we have made in the past couple of years. We will be attempting to reschedule the in-person meeting in the Fall, but in recognition of the end of the summer season, we will likely set up a dual in-person and virtual meeting.  We feel it is beneficial to hold some sort of Annual Meeting as we have not been able to do so since our last Annual Meeting was held on August 17, 2019. The purposes of an Annual Meeting are to elect members to a Board of Trustees and to provide our members with updates on our activities and financial position.

We will be announcing the date and location of the rescheduled meeting on our website and on our Facebook page. We will be providing written notice to our members.

Thank you for your understanding. We will continue our mission to protect open space and habitat for the benefit of all current and future generations of people, fauna and flora.

Respectfully, 

Dennis O’Connell, President

Video of New Herring River Overlook Trail

A new video for the Herring River Overlook Conservation Land and Trail has just been released. As with our other videos, thanks go especially to Mary Doucette, advised by Mike Fisher.

The Herring River Overlook Conservation Land and Trail consists of 18+ acre uplands property with a 1 mile trail consisting mainly of a pine-oak woodland. The northwestern portion of the trail offers panoramic views of the Herring River, Griffin and Great Islands and Cape Cod Bay.

Length of Trail & Total Conservation Land Area: 1 miles; 18.3 acres

Area description: This beautiful 18.3 acre uplands property is a typical coastal heath that is succeeding to a pine-oak woodlands. It hosts about a 1 mile walking trail loop which starts and ends at the parking area. In the northwestern stretches, the ridge offers spectacular views of the Herring River, Griffin and Great Islands and into the Cape Cod Bay. Previously the land had been part of the surplus land holdings of the Chequessett Club, known for its golf, sailing and tennis activities. The Trustees of Chequessett Club had a strong preference to see the land in conservation and open to the public. This land has never been inhabited in modern times. Geologically, the land is an outwash plain, a remnant of the last glacial age of approximately 25,000 years ago. The land was graciously donated by Ms. Jacqualyn Fouse, a local resident, to the Wellfleet Conservation Trust in 2020.

Location: The trail head is at 1000 Chequessett Neck Road; GPS 41.92820° N, 70.06226° W

Directions: Exit Route 6 on Main Street; follow to the end of the commercial district; Left on Holbrook Ave; Right on Chequessett Neck Rd.; follow 1.9 miles.

WCT 14th Annual Walk

The Wellfleet Conservation Trust is planning its 14th annual guided walk to take place the morning of 11 September.  The walk will be in the area bounded by Gross Hill Road, Ocean View Drive, and Long Pond Road.  It will be almost exclusively on dirt roads and paths, about 2.4 miles in length with some moderate hills.  We will have short discussions/lectures at points of interest. The walk is FREE to participants and expected to take about 2.5 hours.  Walkers who have not received a Covid vaccination are asked to wear masks since social distancing will not always be possible.

This year, walkers are asked to register in order to participate.   Parking will be at a premium so we encourage carpooling when possible. 

If you wish to attend, please register by sending an email to
wct.annual.walk@gmail.com

Make the Subject:    Registering for WCT Annual Walk

In the Body list:     First and Last Name

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with details on time, parking, and a more detailed description of the walk.

The Annual WCT walk to resume this coming September

Plans have not yet been finalized, but WCT intends to offer the Annual Guided Walk in September.  The target date is Saturday, September 11, and the route will follow dirt roads and trails from Long Pond to Spectacle Pond and back. It should be about a two mile walk.  Timing and parking logistics need more planning, so you will need to follow our website and Facebook page for more details as they become available.