Town declines requested involvement with Mass Audubon’s potential purchase of Little Harbor Country Club

Apr 20, 2021

During the board’s April 20 meeting, Selectman Peter Teitelbaum brought forward a request from the Massachusetts Audubon Society. 

He said Mass Audubon and the Wareham Land Trust have “the option” to purchase Little Harbor Country Club and its golf course.

“One of the things that they’ve reached out to us on, is the possibility of the town partnering with the two of them in this acquisition to the extent that the town would be applying for one of these  Municipal Vulnerability Program grants, which provides money for coastal resilience types of things,” Teitelbaum explained. 

He said his major concern was that if the town accepted money from the state 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 

At last week’s meeting, Selectman Judith Whiteside first informed the board of Mass Audubon’s plans for the property, which involve restoring the golf course to its natural state of forest and salt marsh. Additionally, cart paths would be converted to walking trails, if the purchase goes through, Whiteside said.

Teitelbaum said that because the MVP Action Grant applications are due “very early next month,” the board needed to weigh in sooner rather than later. 

“I just don’t think we have the time to iron it out so that we don’t screw up the residents-only beach,” he said. 

Ultimately, the board seemed to agree with him. Members brought up a variety of concerns — with Selectman Alan Slavin even suggesting the town buy the golf course instead to protect the beach — before voting to send a letter to Mass Audubon explaining that the town was declining to partner and apply for an MVP grant for the project.