It’s been years in the making and now it is official. Last week the 248 acre “West End” of Cuttyhunk – comprising nearly half of the entire island – was protected forever through permanent Conservation Restrictions gifted to the Buzzards Bay Coalition by the Spaulding Family.
Recording the conservation restrictions on those 248 acres of privately owned land on the West End of Cuttyhunk Island was the final (and largest) element in completing the important Cuttyhunk Conservation Project, which the Coalition has been working on for five years.
The Cuttyhunk Land Conservation Project permanently protects 312 acres of a high priority coastal ecosystem along the shoreline of Cuttyhunk Island. Under the Conservation Restrictions, land owners Anne Rose and Van Spaulding will continue to own and enjoy the land as private property, but they have forever given up the right to develop these acres and have entrusted the Buzzards Bay Coalition to hold and enforce these protections in perpetuity. It is a serious commitment on our part but one that we are honored and excited to fulfill.
These lands benefit the local drinking water supply, coastal water quality, providing buffers from storms and flooding, as well as resiliency in the face of climate change and sea level rise. The unbroken landscapes of Cuttyhunk make the island a regionally important coastal habitat for an exceptionally wide range of plants and animals. This project will help to maintain these important habitats that benefit birds and wildlife including protected species.
Additionally, the project area comprises a distinctive scenic landscape and will have marked economic benefits by supporting commercial and recreational fishing and shellfishing, boating tourism and other recreational opportunities consistent with conservation.
A tradition of fishing, boating and tourism on the island continues to be supported by the exceptional coastal ecosystem today, but the sustainability of these natural resources and dependent activities are threatened by development and land use change that has greatly impacted many nearby coastal areas in recent decades. These conservation restrictions will permanently protect these lands on Cuttyhunk and their natural resources.
In addition to the protection of the land’s flora and fauna, the Spaulding family has also entrusted us to manage limited trail access across the paths at the top of the island’s highest hills in order to link our existing trails on the Coalition’s Reserve Lands and provide a clear way for the public to enjoy this special place and its extraordinary views.