As summer moves into high gear, the Director and Trustees of OCT have exciting news to share with our members! We had two recent land acquisitions, thanks to generous donors in our community. These parcels will now be protected as undeveloped conservation land for perpetuity.
Ragsdale Cedar Swamp
In early May, Mark Robinson of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, alerted us to an important potential gift of land in the Cedar Pond area. The Ragsdale family recently sold their home on Prence Lane but kept back two small parcels of cedar swamp to donate for conservation. In his initial message, Mark wrote: “I strongly recommend you take in these two small parcels. Cedar swamp habitat is rare on the Cape. These are the easy projects we used to have in the early days!”
We had to move fast to meet a June 30 property tax deadline; fortunately the Trustees were scheduled to meet June 28, and managed to line up our ducks so we could vote on that date to acquire. Director Liz Migliore and several trustees toured the property and found minimal issues of concern regarding management. “It’s a fascinating ecosystem,” says trustee Judy Scanlon.
This outright gift totals 2.38 acres, mostly wetland with a small upland portion. Many Atlantic white cedars grow on it, as well as red maples and typical swamp understory plants-but remarkably few invasives. Both the Town and OCT had targeted this land for preservation. Its acquisition will protect wetlands, especially Atlantic white cedar habitat, and add to existing abutting open space. Also, this land was identified by the Town as having strategic potential for recreational open space (for example, a possible boardwalk through the swamp). This would provide educational opportunities for OCT as well.The transaction closed on June 24. We are enormously grateful to the Ragsdale family for their vision and generosity in donating this property, which brings the total land area owned by OCT to date to 468 acres.
40 Captain Curtis Way
This very recent windfall was yet another proof that we don’t always know who the Trust’s benefactors will be. In June we were contacted by residents of Captain Curtis Way, off Hopkins Lane in East Orleans, about a property that had just gone on the market. The neighbors, OCT members Hardie and Marcie Truesdale, proposed to entirely finance OCT’s purchase of this valuable lot for conservation.
Moving quickly, our Land Acquisition Committee worked with the seller’s agent and Mr. Truesdale to work out a deal within a very few days, while we gathered essential information about the land. As you can see from the map, this 0.56 acre of wooded upland and wetland adjoins OCT’s existing Ice House & Reuben’s Pond Conservation Area. Residential sites in this part of East Orleans are highly sought after-a nearby lot on Captain Curtis Way has a house being built on it right now-so this was rare opportunity to add to protected open space there. Besides expanding our existing acreage, there is also a potential vernal pool on the property. The purchase has been concluded and the property officially transferred on July 15.
This is one of the few times a significant purchase of land for the Trust has been entirely underwritten by an individual donor. Needless to say, we’re extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Truesdale, as all of Orleans should be.