Mass Audubon and Brewster Conservation Trust Partner with Town of Brewster to Conserve and Activate Former Cape Cod Sea Camps Properties
February 06, 2024
Mass Audubon, the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England, has pledged a total of $3.5 million to the Town of Brewster to protect and enhance the Cape Cod Sea Camps properties in Brewster, consisting of the 55-acre Bay property, at 3057 Main Street, and the 66-acre Long Pond property, at 400 W.H. Besse Cartway.
Brewster Conservation Trust, Brewster’s private land trust (BCT), is also a partner in this effort.
Mass Audubon’s Board of Directors recently approved $2 million for the Bay property, the former main campus of Cape Cod Sea Camps, which contains numerous buildings and other public amenities. As part of its commitment to the Bay property, Mass Audubon would hold a conservation restriction on approximately 10-acres of the Bay property that includes natural coastal dunes, a pond, woodlands, and trails areas, offer nature-based educational programming in partnership with the Town, establish an informal nature center with office space, and lease three renovated cabins for seasonal Mass Audubon employees.
For the 66-acre Long Pond property, Mass Audubon’s pledge of $1.5 million and Brewster Conservation Trust’s pledge of at least $1 million pending formal Town Meeting approval of the plan will ensure a conservation restriction protects 85 percent of the land. As part of this partnership, Mass Audubon will provide environmental and outdoor education for all ages including birding, guided walks, kayaking, field studies, and a potential summer camp on the Pond property. Public access will not be limited on either property.
“This is a rare and extraordinary opportunity to protect the ecological integrity of Cape Cod while simultaneously promoting nature-based education to the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts,” said David O’Neill, President of Mass Audubon. “We’re thrilled to work with the Town of Brewster and Brewster Conservation Trust to protect crucial and historic properties that should be enjoyed by all.”
“Our residents have consistently expressed overwhelming support for developing partnerships with Mass Audubon and Brewster Conservation Trust to provide nature-based programming and to help conserve critical portions of the Sea Camps properties,” said Ned Chatelain, Brewster Select Board Chair. “The Town of Brewster recognizes the unique opportunity presented by these properties for generations to come and we appreciate Brewster Conservation Trust’s and Mass Audubon’s willingness to partner with us in a way that balances a variety of public interests and reflects the diverse values expressed by our residents throughout the community planning process.”
“We are pleased to be part of the partnership with the Town and Mass Audubon that has made this possible,” noted BCT President Tino Kamarck. “Protecting our drinking water supply, safeguarding pond water quality, and providing public walking trails are fundamental parts of our mission. This protection of 56 acres is the largest land conservation purchase in Brewster since the Town protected hundreds of acres in the Punkhorn in the 1980s.”
The Town of Brewster purchased the Bay and Long Pond properties in 2021 for $26M from the Delahanty families and has gathered community feedback through several town forums and surveys to help determine the best future uses for the properties. The Brewster Select Board and Bay & Pond Property Planning Committees will be sharing their recommended plans with residents at a public forum on February 15, 2024. The plans will be brought to Town Meeting for consideration by Brewster voters on May 11, 2024.
About Brewster Conservation Trust
Brewster Conservation Trust was established in 1983 as a non-profit charitable organization supported by memberships, donations, and grants. Our mission is to preserve open space, natural resources, and the rural character of Brewster and to promote a conservation ethic. BCT owns or has conservation restrictions on more than 200 parcels of land. By the end of 2023, BCT had protected more than 1,600 acres of environmentally important land.
About Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at massaudubon.org.