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 Land Trust History
The Wareham Land Trust, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 2001 by a group of Wareham residents dedicated to conserving and protecting Wareham’s open space and natural resources. In the short time since its inception, the Wareham Land Trust has conserved over 690 acres of open space though land acquisition and conservation restrictions – protecting wildlife habitat, safeguarding wetland and estuary ecosystems, preserving scenic vistas, and providing natural areas for passive recreation.
The Land Trust’s accomplishments are achieved through the hard work of dedicated volunteers, collaboration with other conservation organizations and the Town of Wareham, state and federal grants, and generous contributions from supporters. Strong community involvement makes this success possible. The Wareham Land Trust now boasts nearly 400 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, and secured reaccreditation in August 2019. 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 WLT offers educational programs throughout the year at various locations throughout town. Topics focus on local wildlife and the environment and all are welcome to attend. The Wareham Land Trust strives to provide educational opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
We take pride 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.
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. Year-round residents get to enjoy all the natural wonders New England seasons bring – from summer songbirds to winter waterfowl, spring flowers to fall foliage. 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.
Our 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.
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 both 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 certain public services. Residential growth increases the demand for expensive local services such as law enforcement and road maintenance. 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.