The Harwich Conservation Trust is a leader in creating public-private land conservation partnerships that sustain Harwich as a livable, vibrant community for current and future generations. Harwich’s sandy beaches, windswept marshes, quiet woods, and sun-dappled waters create a fragile place that is home to residents and a destination for tourists. Overdevelopment erodes the environmental qualities that shape our sense of place. HCT seeks to preserve Harwich’s quality of life by protecting priority lands because it is the smart, practical, necessary thing to do for ourselves, our families, our town, our region.
Our economic health is tied to our environmental health. Good schools; strong police and fire protection; first-rate human services; a flourishing economy; and decent roads exist, in part, because we have not allowed overdevelopment to create an unsustainable tax burden. Studies demonstrate that open space protection results in lower property taxes than development.
We stroll and shop in village centers that will stay strong only if we protect the natural places that draw vacationers. We protect the aura of “Old Cape Cod” to ensure our economic future. We preserve woodlands and wetlands to keep our drinking water safe from development threats. We protect upland areas to keep pollution from entering our bays and marshes that serve as nursery grounds for a long-standing fishing industry.
One can put market numbers on a parcel of land but the more intangible values of protecting our wildlife, scenic views, and community character is, in fact, priceless. The sight of a great blue heron lifting off at sunset on long graceful wings; a quiet drive along roads offering water vistas framed by green woods; moments with family and friends on clean beaches. Who can put a price on the Trust’s efforts to save lands that ensure clean coastal waters for a child’s first swim, or a grandparent’s fishing tale, or a newlywed couple’s romantic stroll?
The Harwich Conservation Trust is an active partner in the process of setting aside conservation land while supporting creation of environmentally sound affordable housing and protection of our historic treasures. HCT conserves land to protect the very qualities that shape the shared, special place known as Harwich.