Real Estate Value, Tax Advantages Among Benefits of Land Preservation, Says Trust Director

Mark Robinson, executive director of the Compact for Cape Cod Conservation Trusts

Mark Robinson, executive director of the Compact for Cape Cod Conservation Trusts

BARNSTABLE – Mark Robinson, executive director of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, has spent his career working to preserve land on Cape Cod.

He says that besides being good for the Cape Cod economy and environment, land preservation can also have major tax advantages to land owners, as well as help to keep real estate values high.

The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc. was formed in 1986 as a non-profit service center assisting six local land trusts on the Lower Cape. The Compact now works with 25 local and regional land trust and watershed associations on their projects to acquire and manage important natural areas as protected open space. The Compact also advises its members on non-profit administration, tax, and legal questions.

Robinson said that because most local trusts are managed by volunteers, they find the full-time staff support provided by The Compact crucial to fulfilling their land conservation goals. As a regional organization, The Compact also conducts research and promotes land projects that foster a regional approach to open space protection. The Compact is supported by dues from member land trusts, donations, and grants from private foundations.

The following is the vision statement of the Compact: “The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts believes there is still an opportunity to preserve the essence of Cape Cod which exists in the collective imagination: a place of white sand beaches, broad salt marshes, quiet pine woods, intriguing cranberry bogs, and startlingly blue kettle ponds. Despite rapid and extensive residential and commercial development, the Cape’s beauty and uniqueness persist, attracting newcomers and holding those born here.

“Land in its natural state provides the resource base for the region’s environmental and visual quality. Our upland animals, such as deer and songbirds, need large undeveloped areas to bed down in and migrate through. Our ground waters need large areas of wood lands and wetlands to recharge the quantity and filter the quality of our aquifer. Our fish and shellfish need unpolluted upland buffers to keep their bays and marshes clean. Our people need woods for walking, unspoiled vistas for inspiring, and quiet green places for contemplating themselves and their history.

“The Compact seeks to instill and nurture a land conservation ethic in every Cape Codder. We recognize that, in the absence of individual and collective action, every parcel of open space will be developed on Cape Cod. The result will be an unlivable, unsustainable region. To save our open space we need a comprehensive approach, from decisions made by individuals to partnerships among government agencies and non-profit organizations. The Compact was founded to assist those making simple and complex decisions about how and why land should be preserved.

“The effort of the land trusts of The Compact is a significant supplement to the work of government in protecting open space, but it is not a substitute. The enormity of the problem and the high cost of land on Cape Cod require concerted action. Public dollars and private ingenuity can often be the right recipe for success. The fate of the last 17% of the Cape’s land mass that is still undecided (neither developed nor protected) hangs in the balance.”

Listen below for an interview with Mark Robinson, executive director fo the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts.


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