How OCT Protects Land

The Trust acquires land for conservation in a variety of ways. Generous, preservation-minded landowners make gifts of land (owned by OCT and conserved in perpetuity), establish Conservation Restrictions on their land, or arrange to sell land to OCT.

But as land becomes more valuable, setting aside new land for open space becomes ever more challenging. Sometimes it takes a village — or at least a neighborhood — to help the Trust raise enough funds to purchase a piece of land that’s special to people who live nearby, or to the entire community. A property may protect treasured views or water quality or rural character; it may offer the potential for a wildlife corridor or a peaceful trail.

OCT has nearly a half-century of experience in protecting land in Orleans, and a track record of bringing people together to make it happen. Providing our expertise, leveraging grant opportunities, and working with committed residents who help organize neighbors and step forward with contributions, OCT has successfully completed land acquisitions that at first seemed dauntingly difficult. Such projects help build community and offer immense satisfaction to those who had a hand in permanently protecting treasured places in their own backyard.

Recent Land Acquisition Projects

Protecting 4 Braddock’s Way to Complete the Henson’s Cove Conservation Area

OCT was delighted when we learned of the opportunity to acquire 3.74 acres at 4 Braddock’s Way, the last parcel needed to complete the creation of the 23-acre Henson’s Cove Conservation Area (HCCA). OCT has worked over four decades to acquire the 11 parcels that make up this preserve: a horseshoe-shaped assemblage of properties encircling a small cove on Pleasant Bay. The Trust raised $900,000 in 2021 with support from over 150 members, several philanthropic foundations, and a state grant to protect the property in perpetuity!

The HCCA preserve encompasses a beautiful and ecologically important mix of sandplain grassland, saltwater shoreline, and fringing marsh, as well as several freshwater wetlands surrounded by pine–oak woodland. The preserve offers prime habitat for a variety of wildlife but is best known as a home to northern diamondback terrapins, a state-listed Threatened species. In expanding the HCCA, OCT has begun work to restore about an acre of waterfront to grassland habitat, the preferred choice for nesting terrapins and many other species.

 

Scenic View Lots at 109 Portanimicut Road

OCT continues to expand our protected acreage in still-rural South Orleans, and we’re working towards the purchase of a beautiful property bordering a critical saltmarsh, named Deacon Rogers' Meadow, and tidal creek flowing into Pleasant Bay, with lovely views over the water to Hog Island, Sampson Island, and the barrier beach beyond.

In October of 2020, and with the support of dozens of neighbors and community members, OCT was able to purchase the first of two lots at 109 Portanimicut. The nearly two acres of marshfront property nearly adjoin more than 20 acres that neighbor Rachia Heyelman will leave to OCT in her estate. If we can raise the funds to purchase the second lot, OCT will remove two old cottages and restore this sensitive area to its natural state. Protecting the land will reduce pressure on the Pleasant Bay system by creating a buffer for the saltmarsh against road runoff and risk of contamination generated by residential development.

The land’s assessed value is in excess of $1.5 million, but OCT negotiated a favorable purchase price and completed the purchase by raising $800,000. We are currently working to remove the structures and restore the land to a natural state. Thank you for your support!

66 Portanimicut Road: Building a Greenbelt

Thanks to the aid of a state grant and the generosity of private foundations and over 100 individual supporters, OCT purchased two of the three lots at 66 Portanimicut Road (see the map above). After a favorable Town Meeting vote, the Town purchased the final lot in 2021 (at a substantial discount). One of the reasons why the lot was so appealing to the Town is the lot’s connection to the Town-owned Christian Property, and sometime in 2022, the Town plans to install parking and a new trailhead.

The three lots (totaling 4.65 acres) forge a vital link between existing conservation lands both south and north of the road. Such linkages are a kind of holy grail for land conservation because they provide protected corridors for wildlife—increasingly rare in developed areas like Cape Cod.

4 Braddock's Way
By the Numbers

Acres to be conserved:  3.74
Buildable lots:  1
Assessed value:  $1.07 M
Amount raised:  $900,000
Date protected: November 2, 2021

Habitat:  Pine-oak upland, surrounded by salt marsh, Henson's Cove, and freshwater wetlands
Fundraising completed! Thank you for your support!!!

 

109 Portanimicut Road
By the Numbers

Acres to be conserved:  1.84
Buildable lots:  2
Assessed value:  $1.5M
Amount raised:  $800,000
Habitat:  Old field habitat with red cedars and maples, sloping down to a salt marsh 
Date Protected: January 20, 2022
Fundraising completed! Thank you for your support!!!

“Five generations of my family have enjoyed this treasure in South Orleans. It’s one of the most unique properties in the area, historically and for its natural beauty, wildlife activity, and location on the marsh extending to Little Pleasant Bay. I hope others will join us in supporting this wonderful purchase.”

— Bob Parry, 109 Portanimicut neighbor

66 Portanimicut Road
By the Numbers

Acres to be conserved:  4.65, includes .54 acres of wetland
Buildable lots:  3; 2 undeveloped and 1 with a dwelling to be demolished.
Appraised value:  $1.02M
Amount raised:  $815,000
Habitat:  Pine/oak woodland; one lot with a wetland that may be a vernal pool. 
Contiguous conserved acres if these parcels preserved:  Nearly 100
Date protected: December 30, 2021 
Fundraising completed! Thank you for your support!!!

“I’m always amazed by how much wildlife we see from our own yard, and I know it’s because we have so much open land near us. There’s even a wild honeybee hive. It’s just a very special place, and I’d feel remiss if we didn’t do everything we can to keep it that way.” 

— Kris Nasinnyk, 66 Portanimicut neighbor