Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary Grand Opening Saturday, June 2

Release Date:
May 31, 2012

ROWLEY, MA—Mass Audubon and the Essex County Greenbelt Association announce the Grand Opening of the Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Rowley on Saturday, June 2.

Creation of the wildlife sanctuary, situated between scenic Route 1A and Plum Island Sound, protects vulnerable coastal land from development and ensures the public will be able to explore and enjoy one of the most beautiful salt marsh and adjoining upland habitats in the state.

Saving the 250-acre property highlights a successful partnership between Mass Audubon, New England’s largest conservation organization, and the Essex County Greenbelt Association, the premier land-protection organization on the North Shore. Protection of the most recent 75 acres was made possible by the Town of Rowley, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Open Space Conservancy, an affiliate of the Open Space Institute, and many other foundations and individuals.

The Grand Opening program will take place from 3 to 5 pm and is open to the public. Activities will include guided trail walks through the sanctuary as well as remarks from partners and other invited guests, including Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson and Greenbelt Executive Director Ed Becker. Light refreshments will be served.

Rough Meadows becomes the latest outdoors gem in a network of 52 wildlife sanctuaries from Cape Cod to the Berkshires presently prepared for public visitation by Mass Audubon and in Greenbelt’s portfolio of 15,000 acres of protected land in Essex County. 

The expansive coastscape of salt marsh, tidal creeks, and upland woods also fills a crucial gap in a mosaic of more than 8,000 protected acres within the Great Marsh, which extends from Gloucester to the New Hampshire Seacoast.

The land faced a number of development threats over the years; the wildlife sanctuary’s establishment guarantees that Massachusetts residents and visitors from everywhere will be able to discover its natural wonders for generation to come.

“Rough Meadows shows what partners in conservation can accomplish when they are committed to protecting vulnerable open space for people and nature,” Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson said. “This wildlife sanctuary is not only a prime example of the greater Essex County community pulling together, but a model for collaborative landscape protection across the Commonwealth.”

“Greenbelt is excited to partner with Mass Audubon in the conservation of this incredible parcel that includes thousands of acres in a mosaic of protected land,” added Ed Becker, the local land conservation organization’s Executive Director. “Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary is a great example of the collaborative approach to land conservation we are using in this region,” he concluded.


Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.

Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at