State to buy 53 acres of land for conservation in Mattapoisett

Apr 4, 2018

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, with help from the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Town of Mattapoisett and the Mattapoisett Land Trust, has announced that it will purchase 53 acres of land in Mattapoisett for permanent conservation.

The property runs alongside Route 6 and Mattapoisett Neck Road, as well as Brandt Island Road and the old railway trail, the site of the future bike path.

It also includes the site of the Hammond Quarry, a former pink granite quarry. The quarry operated from the early 1700s until the early 1900s, and regularly shipped boatloads of pink granite from Mattapoisett Harbor.

Brendan Annett, the Buzzards Bay Coalition's Vice President of Watershed Protection, explained that the Coalition has been attempting to preserve the land, currently in private hands, for some time.

"It's a big piece of undeveloped forest at the mouth of the Mattapoisett River," he explained. "It has important natural resource values. Development of the land would have had impacts on Buzzards Bay, as well as wildlife in the area."

Parts of the land parcel are designated as box turtle habitats. Box turtles, native to the area, are suffering a population decline due to increased development of their habitats.

The problem is doubled because box turtles can't be relocated; if placed somewhere else, they simply turn around and attempt to return home.

The parcel, Annett added, also contributes to Mattapoisett's rural nature. The Coalition spoke with the owners of the property for several years, and were finally able to come to an agreement to purchase the acreage, at a cost of $570,000.

When the price was too steep for the Coalition alone to manage, it turned to the Mattapoisett Land Trust for help.

"The Land Trust helped raise money, they secured funds from the town's Preservation Committee, as well as did their own fundraising," Annett said.

In the end, the Coalition and the Land Trust together were able to raise about $270,000 toward the purchase of the property. It was then time to turn to the state.

"We'd worked with them before on the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation, and the outcome was good," he explained.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Wildlife (DCW) was able to allocate around $300,000 toward the purchase of the property, which meant that with the funds already raised, the cost of the property was covered.

Essentially, Annett said, the DCW will buy the property using its own funds as well as the funds raised by the Mattapoisett Land Trust and the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Because the property will be owned by the state, Annett added, it doesn't need a conservation restriction; it is permanently conserved under state law.

Annett expects the property ownership transfer to be completed before the end of June. After that, he said, the property will be open to the public; there are already walking trails in place.