The Wareham Land Trust’s mission is to conserve Wareham’s open space and natural resources, to unite citizens in a common goal of conservation and responsible land use, and to educate the public about the environmental and economic benefits of protecting open space and promoting sustainable development.
Wareham, a residential seacoast community with strong seasonal tourism, is located in southeastern Massachusetts at the head of Buzzards Bay, near the southern end of the Cape Cod Canal. Tourists and part-time residents are attracted by Wareham’s open space and natural areas. They come to this rural, oceanside community to fish, swim, boat, dine, and shop.
This coastal New England community claims some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Commonwealth with 54 miles of saltwater shoreline enhanced by estuaries, cranberry bogs, rivers, and ponds. From barrier beaches to forests, Wareham’s 37 square miles is comprised of diverse lands, water, and natural resources.
Wareham’s early history includes farming, iron-works, and ship building; by the early 1800s, cranberries were cultivated in this area. Today’s local cranberry industry depends on the Weweantic, Wankinco, Agawam, and Wareham Rivers that flow through Wareham. In addition to the cranberry industry, Wareham supports a diversified industrial and commercial economy.
Wareham Land Trust History
The Wareham Land Trust, a non-profit (501 c 3) all-volunteer organization, was founded in 2001 by a small group of Wareham residents dedicated to conserve and protect Wareham’s open space and irreplaceable natural resources. In the short time since its inception the Wareham Land Trust, with the support of Wareham’s citizens, has conserved over 550 acres of open space though land acquisition and conservation restrictions. This land protects wildlife habitat, safeguards wetland and estuary ecosystems, preserves scenic vistas, and provides natural areas for passive recreation.
The Land Trust’s accomplishments are achieved through the hard work of dedicated volunteers, collaboration with other conservation organizations, state and federal grants, and generous contributions from supporters. Strong community involvement makes this success possible. The Wareham Land Trust now boasts over 300 members that consist of a diverse group of year-round residents and summer visitors. Wareham Land Trust members believe in the benefits of preserving open space and help promote sustainable development in Wareham.
In December 2013, the Wareham Land Trust was accredited by the Land Trust Alliance Commission. This national recognition is a mark of distinction in land conservation honoring organizations for meeting standards for excellence in ethics, upholding the public trust, and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent.
Programs and Services
In addition to being a leader in local land conservation efforts, the Wareham Land Trust offers educational programs throughout the year at various locations — admission is free, light refreshments are served, and all are welcome. Topics focus on local wildlife and the environment.
During the summer of 2014, the Wareham Land Trust co-sponsored a day camp at the Lyman Preserve. This successful program provided an opportunity for children to experience the wonders of nature. Future day camps will offer children the chance to explore natural places and learn to appreciate the outdoors.
The Wareham Land Trust prides itself in conserving open space and providing beautiful natural areas for passive recreation. Some areas have walking trails, informative signs, and canoe / kayak launch sites; there are no entrance fees. Any group can arrange for a guided walking tour at any of these conservation properties.
Everyone who lives, works, vacations, or passes through Wareham benefits from the efforts of the Wareham Land Trust. Protected open space is an integral component of maintaining Wareham’s rural character; it provides recreational opportunities, protects critical wildlife habitat, safeguards natural resources, and improves the overall quality of life. Open space provides visual respite and has a positive effect on physical and mental health.
Protected open space also leads to financial benefits. In dollar terms, open space increases the property value of adjacent properties, makes tourism more attractive, and reduces the demand for public services. Residential growth increases the demand for expensive local services such as law enforcement, road maintenance, and public education. The cost of municipal services for a newly developed neighborhood exceeds its property tax revenue. The Wareham Land Trust strives to protect open space not only for its ecological value but also for the aesthetic, intrinsic, and economic value it provides for all.