Help Create the Red River Valley Preserve

With about 14% of unprotected natural areas left on the Cape that either could be developed or preserved, the race is on to save priority lands before they’re lost forever.

You make land preservation possible

In 2022, thanks to your generous support, together we completed three high priority watershed land-saving campaigns, one of which was the Six Ponds Great Woods Project to preserve the largest tract left on the Lower Cape.

Preserving natural lands helps to protect coastal water quality as well as ponds and the public drinking water supply that can be impacted by too much development.

Plants and animals from birds to box turtles to butterflies and every species in between need wild areas to find food, nest, and shelter. Creating conservation destinations gives people a chance to get outside, discover and enjoy nature with family and friends.

We’re gearing up again to save another spectacular property.

With your help, we want to accelerate land preservation, stewardship, education and volunteer initiatives with a bold new endeavor called the Red River Valley Preserve Project.

The goal is to protect 12.34 acres including the largest forested landscape left from one end of Harwich to the other between Route 28 and Nantucket Sound.

The land borders more than 786 feet of stream that empties into Nantucket Sound at the eastern end of the largest and most popular beach in town: Red River Beach.

In March, HCT asked its nonprofit partner The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts to temporarily buy and hold the property, thereby giving HCT time to raise funds. The property includes a 2,144 square foot one-level house plus a garage. HCT plans to adapt the house into expanded office space and new learning center.

With the pace of development increasing, HCT is responding to multiple properties at risk. Along with scheduling numerous guided walks, and many active volunteers lending a hand on the land, we’ve been pushing capacity at our current office. This new property offers a chance to save critical watershed land with a stream that flows to the Sound next to Red River Beach.

It’s an exciting opportunity for establishing a new office that can expand educational and volunteer experiences for the community. And we can create a new trail destination.

Land-Saving Opportunity & New Learning Center

The Red River land is located on both sides of Route 28 providing a scenic wooded gateway for travelers on the busy road between Harwich and Chatham. South of Route 28 is a house on 9.6 acres that was owned by the Chase family for 90 years. On the north is 2.74 acres owned by the Baker family.

Altogether, the acreage is a critical watershed area tucked into the Red River Valley. Downstream of the land is an active herring run where the feisty fish swim from the Sound into Skinequit Pond to spawn each spring.

The total 12.34 acres is the missing link needed to complete a north/south wildlife habitat corridor when combined with 475 acres of adjoining conservation and water department land in both towns.

A pitch pine and oak forest with sun-dappled forest floor surprisingly free of invasive plants rambles down to wetland thickets. Deer, fox, turtles, flying squirrels, and songbirds make these habitats their home.

We envision renovating the existing house into a universally accessible, welcoming conservation hub for greeting visitors and hosting education programs as well as creating a demonstration native plant & pollinator garden.

Despite intense development pressure in this area on the border of Harwich and Chatham, both sides of Route 28 have remained natural because of the longstanding stewardship of the Chase and Baker families.

Now it’s our turn to take care of the land, provide a new walking trail, and adapt the existing house into an office and learning center open to all.

Please join us in this bold, exciting endeavor!

Click here to donate today.