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.
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.
Our newest WCT conservation area, now dubbed Herring River Overlook (HRO), offers woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and incredible views of the Herring River estuary.
As the Herring River restoration project proceeds, these views will become even better. They’ll provide a tutorial on the restoration of the historic salt marsh, with its diverse flora and fauna.
Trustees and friends held a small work party on June 1 to complete the parking area for a trail through the HRO property, clear the trail, and add steps where needed. Fortunately, it was a sunny day with mild temperatures. The photos here give you some idea of the work involved and also what the finished trail will be.
A new video for the Drummer Cove conservation area has just been released. Thanks go especially to Mary Doucette, advised by Mike Fisher.
The Drummer Cove area is remarkably varied for its 11+ acres. It is also unusual for offering a 1+ mile trail with easy access.
Length & Extent of Trail: 1.1 miles; 11.3 acres plus easements
Area description: The Drummer Cove Conservation Area includes salt marsh, tidal flats, coastal bank and oak pine forest on its upland. The entire area is within the recharge area to Drummer Cove and as such falls into the Wellfleet Harbor Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The land is in State designated Priority Habitat for rare species. The four benches provide great views of the Cove.
Location: The trail head is at 170 Pond Ave in South Wellfleet. 41.91415, -70.00165
Directions: Exit Route 6 heading west for approximately 0.5 miles on Paine Hollow Road to the first stop sign. Turn left on Pleasant Point Road for approximately 0.25 miles. Turn left on to Pond Ave for 0.3 miles, the last part being a dirt road to a parking area at the trail head.
The Friends of Herring River (with special thanks to Patti Elliott) have organized the first annual Virtual Herring River 5K race for May 1 – 31, 2021. It’s to celebrate the planned restoration of the river.
The race is run virtually, with times to be reported on the honor system.
The race can be done in stages. At 5k (3.1 miles) you could race each of the 31 days of May for 0.1 miles (about 200 steps). Walking is one option.
[It is] the largest publicly-accessible conservation area outside of the National Seashore on the Lower Cape…. Almost two miles of public trails have been established, viewing benches installed and parking defined. More importantly, the recurring partnership between the town and WCT on land deal has enabled us to work closely on other open space projects throughout Wellfleet.
Mark H. Robinson, WCTNewsletter, Fall 2010
Mark’s complete article in that newsletter describes the complicated process to acquire such a beautiful property. It includes a map of the area and the trails, as well as several photos.
WCT’s newest trustee is Barry Turnbull, Ph.D. Barry grew up in Wellfleet and graduated from Nauset Regional High school in the early 1970’s. He worked summers at the Yum Yum Tree and the Wellfleet Recreation and Beach programs. Barry met his wife Dawn Hill in Wellfleet, and they split their time between Wellfleet and Needham, Mass. for about thirty years. Barry was a Biostatistician for Squibb, Parexel and Alkermes before forming a clinical trials consulting company with others from Boston University. Their company was later bought by a larger healthcare firm in 2005. Since then, Barry has consulted with pharmaceutical and biotech firms and volunteered his statistical services to the Dana Farber Cancer Center plus serving on numerous data monitoring committees for local biotech companies.
Barry, Dawn and their four children spent their summers in Wellfleet with their kids working at the Chequessett Club, Wellfleet Recreation Program, Moby Dick’s and the Catch of the Day. Dawn and Barry returned to Wellfleet full time in 2015 and have since volunteered at the Wellfleet Library and the 246 Plus Mustard Seed Kitchens. They also started a family scholarship for Wellfleet residents graduating from Nauset High.
Barry can be frequently found riding around town on his old Triumph or golfing at Chequessett. He and Dawn are also often in Wellfleet Harbor on their boat with family and friends.
“I am very excited to now be a part of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust. The amount of unbuilt space outside of the National Seashore that currently exists in Wellfleet is dramatically less than when I was growing up here. Setting aside land for conservation and recreation is of great importance to the people of the town and key to the town’s overall sustainability. Of course, this must be balanced against the need of land for affordable housing and the requirement for shore lands useable for water recreation and shellfishing,” Barry said.
He continued, “Moving forward I hope to help the WCT with further land acquisition and assisting in fund raising needed to best carry out our mission. Maintaining existing trails in WCT properties is always needed and I look forward to doing that as well.”
Following the landmark Herring River Overlook acquisition in late summer, the Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) has acquired four additional new properties this Fall. These properties are at various locations around town, adding an additional 12 acres of land in conservation. Founded in 1984, WCT now conserves a total of over 417 acres of land.
Jack Hennessey donated a 1.08 acre buildable lot in the northern part of Wellfleet at 121 Meadow View. It is the entirety of a kettle hole formed in glacial times when a stagnant ice bock finally melted leaving a depression in the sand and gravel landscape. It hosts white and black oak and red maple and provides a mix of upland and swamp habitat; the steep banks offer good burrows for fox and coyotes to den. The ridge on its north side leads over to the Herring River valley.
Mr. Hennessey, a retired professor, lives next door. “It is good to see this lot permanently protected,” said Mr. Hennessey, “I bought it for privacy protection and now I can rest easy knowing WCT will continue to take care of it.” WCT plans to keep this property in its natural state, thus protecting the habitat and ground water resources.
Janis Swain sold WCT a small buildable lot at 11 Paine Avenue off Old Wharf Road at a discount. This is the first of a two-part purchase in which the Swain family has agreed to sell both lots to us at a bargain. The second purchase will be consummated in 2023, when the family can benefit from the Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit program.
These lots are at the edge of the late-1800s Miles-Merrill subdivision around Old Wharf Point and its approach. The plan predated zoning in Wellfleet and the lots are as small as 5000 square feet! Many were combined and built on, resulting in a maze of cottages on sand roads.
The Swain lots border an abandoned swamp garden where the early residents diked off upper reaches of salt marsh and dried them out to create planting fields. The dikes have broken down over time and some of the tallest invasive Phragmites reeds in town grow in the swamp now.
In 1992, Janis and her late husband, Douglas Swain, benefitted WCT when they donated a one acre parcel on Mill Hill Island. Since then, the WCT and Town, in the care and custody of the Conservation Commission, have acquired all of the 6-acre island in Loagy Bay, so the Island is permanently conserved.
Most recently, WCT purchased two lots from the Richard B. Butterfield estate. The first lot is a buildable, sloping 0.63 acre marsh-front lot located at 130 Bayberry Lane. The second parcel is ten-acres of salt marsh wrapping around the Bayberry Lane neighborhood and up Silver Springs.
The marsh parcel connects to a ¾-acre parcel purchased by WCT in 1994, which in turn connects with other WCT parcels at the intersection of Lt. Island Road and Bayberry Lane. On the east side, the lot connects to the WCT-Town Bayberry Hill Conservation Area.
Salt marshes have been recognized to have very high conservation values for coastal resilience and for being productive breeding grounds for fin and shell fisheries. These parcels will be retained in their natural state.
Thanks to the hard work of Mary Doucette, Year 22 Member of AmeriCorps Cape Cod, we now have a new open space map for Wellfleet.
The map is in portable document format (pdf), meaning that it should be easily viewable on most computers, tablets, and phones. At 900 dots per inch, the detail is amazing, showing roads, buildings, ponds, beaches, and more.
It displays lands managed by the Cape Cod National Seashore, Wellfleet Conservation Trust (both Trust lands and conservation restrictions), the Town Conservation Commission, Mass Audubon, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
It’s worth noting , as you can see on the map, that many of the lands abut others, making possible extended walking trails and unrestricted views.
You can see a thumbnail version of the map on the home page of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust site. If you click on that small map, you should be able to see the much more detailed pdf version. That one can be viewed online, zooming in or out, or downloaded for more detailed offline study or printing.