Collaboration saves Aucoot woodlands in Marion from threat of development

A strategically-important 33-acre stretch of forested wetlands and woodlands just north of Route 6 in Marion will be permanently protected thanks to collaboration among the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Sippican Lands Trust (SLT), the Marion Open Space Acquisition Commission (MOSAC), and private donors.

The 33-acre Hoff parcel extends from Route 6 northward and connects to more than 700 acres of existing conservation lands. The protection of the property will greatly improve public access to the walking trails on the adjacent reserve lands, which include the Sippican Lands Trust’s Aucoot Woods: White Eagle Parcel and the town-owned Goldavitz Bog.

The property is also significant ecologically. It contains land identified by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as important habitat for threatened animal species and keeps a large piece of the Aucoot Cove watershed forested – providing a filter to pollution. The land had long been eyed for protection.

“The protection of the woodlands and wetlands on the Hoff property is particularly sweet because it was accomplished through collaboration,” said Mark Rasmussen, president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. “When we work together, we are able to accomplish so much more to protect important watershed lands like these.”

“Sippican Lands Trust wants to thank our donors, members and friends who made a gift to the Hoff property conservation project and the Marion Town Voters for approving the purchase of the conservation restriction on the Hoff property,” said Jim Bride, executive director of the Sippican Lands Trust. “We also are grateful to the Buzzards Bay Coalition for their help and guidance in facilitating this land conservation project.”

The Coalition helped to make the acquisition possible by moving quickly to get the property off the real estate market and provide the time that the SLT and MOSAC needed to raise the necessary funding. In making the “pre-acquisition”, BBC leveraged its Bay Lands Revolving Loan Fund to close an agreement for the land during a short window of time in which it was available for conservation. It also provided sufficient time for Marion Town Meeting voters to approve use of municipal land preservation funds to complete the transaction.

The Sippican Lands Trust, which will own and be responsible for managing the land, plans to develop a trail system with a small parking area that connects to Aucoot Woods. The trust will also manage and steward the property to protect the variety of ecologically sensitive habitats at the site. And to provide a double-layer of protection for the land, the MOSAC will hold a permanent Conservation Restriction on top of the SLT.

Dot Brown, treasurer of the Sippican Lands Trust, said opening the Hoff property for public access will greatly enhance use of the existing trails at the White Eagle and Goldavitz Bog properties, which many residents find difficult to reach from the current Parlowtown Road access point. “This will open up a huge area of trails and make them much easier to reach,” she said. “This was a truly remarkable opportunity.”

Category: On the Land

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