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.
On December 31, 2015 the WCT reached a long sought after goal – completing the acquisition of the Drummer Cove “Link Lot” in South Wellfleet. Your contributions were essential to making this possible. Thanks to you this beautiful spot is now protected and open for all to enjoy.
Individual donations were the largest source of our funding, but the WCT also received grants from the Massachusetts Conservation Partnership Program, the Bafflin Foundation, the Fields Ponds Foundation and the Cape Cod 5 Saving Bank Foundation. Thanks to these organizations and your generous support, we were able to assemble all of the funding needed to close on the property by year end.
The lot is located on the northwest shore line of Drummer Cove and provides a vital “link” between several conservation properties. Since it preserves critical coast line habitat, this land is of the highest conservation priority. Additionally, there are valuable public and historic benefits to preserving this parcel. Once part of a historic and picturesque walking trail that led from Pleasant Point to the Pond Hill School, public access to this land had been restricted since 2001 by an infamous spite fence. With our acquisition of this property the fence has been razed, and the Drummer Cove trail is now restored for public enjoyment.
We never would have been able to accomplish this without your support. Thank you!
The Walker property consists of 8.3 acres of wooded slopes, a maple swamp, and a small pond, which is a certified vernal pool. The conservation plan for this property was completed in April 2012, and walking trails (approximately 0.6 miles in length) are now open to the public. We hope you will explore this new trail!
In spring this trail comes alive with music, color, and fragrance: the gentle chorus of spring peepers, the rhythmic bass of bullfrogs, the sweet scent of blackberry blossoms, the lime-green buds of swamp maples, the lavender blossoms of wild phlox, and the black and orange mosaic of monarch wings covering milkweed stalks. On the evening following the first warm rain of spring, you might even catch a glimpse of mole salamanders gathering at the vernal pool to breed and lay their eggs.
In fact, it is a festival of life and feast for the senses in all seasons. WCT trustee Dwight Estey was so captivated that he was inspired to compose poetry, which will be published on the WCT website. Here is a sample of his verses:
Through trees below, water I saw Glassy, dark with black reflection The Walker Pond below my perch Mirrored nature’s perfection.
Browns, tans and yellows shimmered And upon still waters seemed Like jewels laid out before me A view for kings and queens.
– Dwight E. Estey From Ode to a High Bench, A Poet’s Walk
Will the muses also fill you with creative spirit when you visit the Walker Conservation Land and Trails? If they do, we want to hear about it! You are invited to share your poetry, photography, and artwork with us. Once again, we express our deepest gratitude to the Walker family for working with WCT to preserve this gem.
Access to the new trail is next to 70 Coles Neck Road and marked with a sign.
Have you noticed the new WCT sign on Old County Road in South Wellfleet? It marks the trail head of our new trail through the Clover property. As you may remember, this property was the keystone of a plan sponsored by the WCT, the Open Space Committee, and incorporating Community Preservation Act funds, to preserve 8 acres of upland pine woodlands and establish trails connecting with the Cape Cod National Seashore. Throughout the spring, volunteers including WCT trustees and Open Space Committee members have been busy installing, marking, and mapping trails through the Clover property which formally closed last December. The 8 acres are situated in critical habitat areas for Species of Special Concern, and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program reports three rare animal species living on or near the site. Endangered Mayflowers are among the many outstanding natural attributes of this property.
The land consists of a healthy pitch pine and oak tree forest with full canopy. The shrub layer consists of viburnum, bayberry, shadbush, highbush and lowbush blueberry, and black huckleberry. This understory suggests that while the land may have been cleared (as most of the Cape was by the mid-19th century), it was never plowed. Groundcovers include mayflower, checkerberry, Indian pipes, and other typical native flora.
The house on the property dates back to 1840. After renting the house several summers beginning in 1962, the Clover family bought the house and land in 1969, and it served as their summer home for many years. On the property are the remnants of a pheasant pen, a cartpath, and what remains of Old Bell Road. When the family decided to dedicate the property to conservation, they patiently endured the torts of a long process – for which the trustees are deeply grateful, because this is truly a prized parcel.