Visitors usually come to Cape Cod for the spectacular natural beauty of its windswept beaches and pine forests. But few think about what it took, and continues to take, to protect open spaces on the Cape.
Cape Cod National Seashore was just one step for conservation
When President John F. Kennedy signed the bill creating the Cape Cod National Seashore the Great Beach, made famous by Thoreau and Henry Beston of Outermost House fame, was saved for all to enjoy.
But maintaining the character of the Cape beyond the national park has required continued effort by many organizations. Today many of those organizations benefit from being part of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts.
How the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts helps protect the Cape
The Compact provides assistance to 25 Cape Cod land conservation organizations in their attempts to preserve open space. In 2010, grants written by the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts brought state funding of more than $2 million to eight Cape towns for open space projects.
The Compact also advises land conservation organizations on non-profit administration, taxes and legal issues. With multiple member organizations, the Compact is able to encourage and facilitate cooperation that leads to a more Capewide approach to land conservation.
What the Compact’s work means to Cape Cod tourists
Many of the conservation lands are open to the public for walking, birdwatching or simply enjoying the natural habitats of Cape Cod. Places like Peterson Farm in Falmouth, Murkwood Conservation Lands in Sandwich and Mashpee River Woodlands are examples of the benefit of conservation lands to the public.
Other benefits are not as easily seen. Protection of watersheds ensures cleaner water for safe swimming and healthy shellfish for dinner. Sometimes it means houses aren’t built and viewsheds are preserved.
The work of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts ensures the Cape visitor experience is preserved.