Imagine traveling back in time to an era on Cape Cod where you followed a worn cartpath or foot trail wandering through woodland and meadow nestled against a kettle pond, watching for the wildlife around you. That singular experience of solitude and scenic beauty is increasingly rare as development continues to encroach on the last wild places of the Cape.
The Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) has an opportunity to preserve approximately 15 acres to help protect the historical feel, scenic splendor, water quality, and wildlife habitat diversity along more than 1,000 feet of shoreline on Cornelius Pond (also known as Eldridge Pond).
Cornelius Pond is called a “coastal plain pond,” and coastal plain ponds represent some of the most vulnerable natural areas of the Northeast. Created by the receding glacier that left massive melting blocks of ice in the coastal meltwater plain of Cape Cod about 18,000 years ago, these special ponds since filled with groundwater and now support a variety of species, including rare plants and animals.
The total project cost to preserve this beautiful landscape and help protect pond water quality is $850,000. An anonymous donor has issued a challenge gift of $425,000, if we can raise the matching funds of $425,000 by Dec. 31, 2018. We invite you to make a land-saving difference by donating today toward the matching fund goal.
Vision, luck, persistence, compassion, patience, flexibility, fate—just some of the elements that form the origin of the more than 80 rolling acres of forest and wetland that beckon within the Island Pond Conservation Lands. This conservation assemblage with walking trails traversing old cartpaths bordered by bicycle trails near the Town Center has been assembled over 20 years by a partnership among Town Meeting voters, HCT, and landowners with the courage and will to make a difference for land, water, and wildlife.
It all started 30 years ago, when a truck went into a ditch in the snow in the snow forcing G. Rockwood Clark and land owner George Canham to get to know each other better while they walked for help. Rocky was looking for Harwich land to buy. Canham, a sheep farmer, then in his 80s, wanted to sell his acres to people he liked and who would appreciate the land, so he gave Rocky and his then wife Cynthia a deal. She paid him her small inheritance from a grandparent whom George, as it turned out had known. George liked the couple and sold the land at a fraction of the property’s value. “He was a wonderful man,” Rocky says.
“It’s a magic place,” says Sophie Eldredge about Sophie’s Corner. “When we were little we had a garden down there. It’s a special feeling there. It’s beautiful; it’s quiet. It’s a corner nook in the middle of the woods. You can’t see any houses around. It’s peaceful.”
When her parents bought the land in the 1980s, they named pieces for their three children. Her mother Caroline writes that the piece so named, “looked like Sophie, beautiful, wild and windswept.”
Walking to a meadow, you can glimpse Hinckleys Pond through the trees. Sophie’s father Everett Eldredge points to where a snapping turtle had dug a nest. It’s been scavenged, the eggs have dried out, becoming bone-like shards. “There was a cellar hole, a structure here,” he says. Clearly, the land holds a story for both people and wildlife meandering its contours over time.
Twenty years back, Eldredge sold his neighbor Jacob Brown five acres of the land adjacent to Sophie’s Corner.
Walk leader Don Wilding’s journey brings you to “the earth and outer sea” of Henry Beston’s “The Outermost House.” Beston’s book, a Cape Cod literary classic published 90 years ago, captured the essence of Cape Cod’s “Great Beach” and served as an inspiration for the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore. On this walk in the National Seashore overlooking Nauset Marsh and the Great Beach, Wilding, local historian and author, tells the story of how and why Beston, an ambulance driver in World War I, came here, what he experienced during his “year on the beach,” and how “The Outermost House” became a National Literary Landmark before it was swept away by the sea in the Blizzard of ’78.
The Wilsons bring owls that are found locally including great-horned owl with golden irises, red morph screech owl and the soda can-sized saw-whet owl. They also showcase owls from around the globe, including the Eurasian eagle owl (largest owl species in the world) and the South American spectacled owl. The barred owl with its dark charcoal-colored eyes and the striking snowy owl will also make an appearance. – See more at: http://harwichconservationtrust.org/eyes-on-owls/#sthash.l69lwALO.dpuf