Wellfleet Conservation Trust Begins Removing “Spite Fence”

COURTESY OF THE WELLFLEET CONSERVATION TRUST AmeriCorps members Sasha Berns and Natalie Wall remove sections of the "spite fence" in South Wellfleet.

AmeriCorps members Sasha Berns and Natalie Wall remove sections of the “spite fence” in South Wellfleet.

SOUTH WELLFLEET – The Wellfleet Conservation Trust began taking down a barrier known as the “spite fence” in South Wellfleet this week.

The “Link Lot” located on the northwest shoreline of Drummer Cove was recently acquired by a group of conservationists, the Drummer Cove Nominee Trust, as a bridge ownership for the Wellfleet Conservation Trust.

The parcel’s previous owner installed the fence sometime in the 2000s due to a property dispute.

About 50 of the 60 sections of fence were taken down with assistance from four AmeriCorps members.

President of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust Dennis O’Connell said acquiring the land was a major goal of the trust.

“It was one of the highest priority conservation and recreation lands that we had in Wellfleet because it did connect with the trails that are there and because it is part of the area of critical environmental concern,” he said. “It is part of the natural habitat for rare and endangered species.”

The lot was named the “Link Lot” because it provides a public connection to two portions of existing trails and lightly traveled dirt roads that make up a nearly one mile loop of walking trails.

“It is part of an old historic path that used to run from Pleasant Point up to the Pond Hill Schoolhouse,” he said. “And it was used a lot by kids in the 1800s to go from the piers over to the school house.”

O’Connell said the decision to purchase the land was not easy.

“Wellfleet Conservation Trust took a deep breath before we decided to go ahead and pursue this offer,” he said. “Because it is the most that we have ever paid for property. It is waterfront property and it’s a very key environmentally sensitive property.”

The purchase of the “Link Lot” was proposed at town meeting, which received a majority of the vote but not the two-thirds required to pass.

If the vote had passed, $181,000 from the town’s Community Preservation Act funds along with a state grant and money from a local land trust would have been used to purchase the $420,000 parcel of land.

The Drummer Cover Nominee Trust then purchased the land with an agreement to sell to the Wellfleet Conservation Trust when the funding is all available.

O’Connell said the conservation trust still has to come up with about $200,000 to purchase the land and he hopes to secure $85,000 of that total from a state grant.

“The state partnership grant will be decided towards year end,” he said. “We think, and hope, that we have a very good chance at that grant because the way the state evaluates the various properties, we get a lot of points, as they are called.”

O’Connell said fundraising will be done to come up with the remainder of the funds.

“That’s one of the joys of waterfront on Cape Cod,” he said. “It’s only [three-quarters] of an acre. So it’s not much land but certainly is critical.”

O’Connell said the property had changed a lot in a short period of time.

“It’s been opened up and everybody is just amazed by what an improvement it is,” he said.

He said you can actually see the indentations from when it was a trail.

“It’s got a lot of conservation and recreation attributes to it and the neighborhood was certainly supportive of what we are doing,” he said.


  1. Rosemary Brown says

    That’s awesome ! I hope that the get the grant money they need ! We’ve been coming to Wellfleet for over thirty years now and we absolutely love it ! We spend as much time as we can here with our children and grandchildren all year round.

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