Mass Audubon could buy Little Harbor Country Club

Apr 13, 2021

Little Harbor Country Club is up for sale, and Mass Audubon is hoping to buy.

The conservation organization started talks with the club after its owners failed to find a buyer who would continue to run the golf course, explained Selectman Judith Whiteside at the April 12 Board of Selectmen’s meeting. Whiteside said she heard about the possible deal at a webinar she attended with Mass Audubon representatives and a member of the Planning Board and someone from the Wareham Land Trust.

If the sale goes through, Mass Audubon plans to restore the golf course to its natural state of forest and salt marsh. 

Whiteside brought the possible sale up at the board’s meeting because Mass Audubon is considering partnering with the town of Wareham to apply for an MVP Action Grant from the state to fund that work.

If the town uses state funds for work on Little Harbor Beach, which is currently open only to Wareham residents, the town would have to open access to the beach to everyone — which Whiteside said was a “non-starter.”

Whiteside said that Mass Audubon wanted to provide a path to Little Harbor Beach through a boardwalk, which would give everyone access.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum said that the town purchased the beach for residents only in 1947, and, in 1996, that resident-only status was reaffirmed by Town Meeting following an influx of windsurfers.

Selectman Jim Munise said that the town has fairly limited opportunities for active recreation, and asked if that might continue at the site.

Mass Audubon does plan to convert the cart paths to walking trails, if the purchase goes through, Whiteside said.

Teitelbaum said that the town’s ability to provide residents with resources is limited, and that he wouldn’t want to remove the residents-only beach from those resources. He added that the board would be “rightly crucified” if they allowed everyone onto Little Harbor Beach.

Selectman Alan Slavin cautioned that the board did not know any of the details of a potential deal as Mass Audubon hadn’t officially contacted the board.