The Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) recently removed a long since abandoned 1950s Ford from Mill Pond Woodlands Conservation Area. The car was discovered approximately half a mile down the walking path from the entrance. Ryan Mann, HCT’s Outreach & Stewardship Coordinator and HCT’s four summer interns (Nathaniel Blichmann, Peter Bolte, Hannah Rusch, Laura Simmons-Stern) dismantled and disposed of the car. Removing the car is part of a long range effort to clean up debris in the area that was preserved in 2011.

In 2011, town meeting voters in both Harwich and Chatham approved the purchase and preservation of the 38.7-acre Mill Pond Woodlands, which is partially within the Pleasant Bay Watershed. Because of $1 million in state grants the net cost to each town in Community Preservation Act dollars was less than $13,000 per acre. The Friends of Pleasant Bay wrote letters in support of the $1 million in successful state grants. The Harwich Conservation Trust and the Chatham Conservation Foundation, Inc. jointly hold a conservation restriction on the entirety.

The public-private land protection partnership saved land in the wellfield recharge area for up to eleven public drinking water well sites across the two towns. This tract lies next to approximately 235 acres of town-owned open space spanning the Harwich and Chatham border, providing important forested wildlife habitat on Mill Pond.

“Illegal dumping on conservation land is detrimental and dangerous to the surrounding flora and fauna as well as an eyesore for the public. It took some patience and problem-solving, especially with the 300-pound engine block, but all 700 pounds of rusted, twisted metal were removed with very little disturbance to the land. This project is the first of many hands-on land stewardship actions to be tackled by HCT’s college interns this summer,” said Laura Simmons-Stern, HCT’s Community Relations Intern.