Buzzards Bay Coalition Completes Acquisition of Cuttyhunk Land

GOSNOLD – Barrier beaches, coastal marsh and upland habitats on Cuttyhunk Island are now secure from the threat of development thanks to a deal that will ensure the land remains natural and accessible to the public.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition and its partners, the Town of Gosnold, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bouchard 120 Oil Spill Natural Resources Damages Trustee Council, and 198 private donors, completed a $6.1 million acquisition of 68 acres on the island, much of which had been placed on the market for potential development.

The acquisition complements the donation of a conservation restriction on a separate 250-acre property on the island’s western end.

Together, the two conservation actions protect more than 300 acres of land and more than five miles of Massachusetts coastline, nearly all of the island’s remaining large developable property.

“Protecting and permanently preserving such a significant portion of Cuttyhunk is a truly historic achievement for the long-term protection of Buzzards Bay,” said Buzzards Bay Coalition President Mark Rasmussen.

“This is one of our region’s most unique landscapes. A broad coalition of public and private partners came together to not only protect Cuttyhunk, but also to ensure that the public can continue to enjoy these treasures of the Elizabeth Islands.” 

The land protected was purchased from the descendants of turn-of-the-century industrialist William Wood who began purchasing much of the land on Cuttyhunk beginning in 1905 and built the island’s two great houses, Avalon and Winter House.

“As stewards of much of the undeveloped land on Cuttyhunk, and following in the tradition of our great-grandfather, William Wood, who established our family’s foothold on Cuttyhunk, we are proud to participate in this preservation plan of our beloved island,” commented Van Spaulding on behalf of his family.

The 68 acres of land purchased by the Coalition and its partners include Barges Beach, the Lookout and Bayberry Hills, a portion of Copicut Neck, all of which will be owned and managed by the Coalition, and Church’s Beach, which will be owned by the Town of Gosnold.

All of the properties will be managed as public reserves, ensuring public access to these environments.

“I am glad to see more than 300 acres of Cuttyhunk Island’s natural habitat preserved and recognize the dedication from all our community partners to make it happen,”  said Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Buzzard Bay Coalition over the past two years, we are able to ensure these exceptional lands and natural habitats are preserved, managed, and protected for generations to come.”

“The environmental benefits of permanently protecting land on Cuttyhunk cannot be understated and residents of the island and visitors arriving on the ferry from New Bedford will be able to enjoy this land, undeveloped and pristine, for generations to come,” said Congressman William Keating.

“I applaud Mark Rasmussen and the Buzzards Bay Coalition for leading the coalition of municipal, state, and federal government partners as well as the private donors who made this transaction possible.”

Beyond public access and recreation, the acquisition will further a number of important conservation purposes.

The two beaches bookend the island’s federally recognized “harbor of refuge,” an important navigational feature at the entrance to Buzzards Bay.

The protected land will also preserve water quality, both of the Bay and of the island’s only public drinking water supply, as well as protect maritime island vegetation and a variety of birds, fish and wildlife, including rare species.

“The Town of Gosnold and the Buzzards Bay Coalition have secured a once-in-a-generation opportunity for open space preservation in Massachusetts,” said Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

 “At long last, this agreement realizes the ambitious vision to make Cuttyhunk’s remaining lands protected and open to the public for many lifetimes to come.”

Earlier this year, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts awarded $1.4 million for the project through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action grant program, which aims to strengthen the Bay State’s resilience in the face of climate change and rising sea levels.

Two large federal grants, $1.15 million from the Bouchard 120 Oil Spill Trustee Council and $1 million from the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, focused on preservation of the island’s habitats and wildlife. 

 “Cuttyhunk is perhaps the most unique and beautiful community in the Commonwealth and this deal will preserve this island home for perpetuity,” said Falmouth State Representative Dylan Fernandes.

“It was an honor to play a small role in what was truly an island-led effort with tremendous support from the Buzzards Bay Coalition.”

The Buzzards Bay Coalition will manage and care for the lands into the future.

Trails will be improved over the winter with an expected Reserve Opening in Spring 2021.

To learn more about the Buzzards Bay Coalition and land conservation on Buzzards Bay, click here.

About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy