Wareham Land Trust seeks to provide public access to new property
The Wareham Land Trust is looking for ways to expand its newly acquired property at Stoney Run and open it the public, according to trust Director Kevin Bartsch.
The piece of conservation land, which was donated to the land trust by the Narragansett Boy Scout Council in December, is 13.3 acres of undeveloped woodland and wetland that straddles the Stoney Run stream.
“It’s a beautiful moss-covered stream,” Bartsch said. “I don’t really think the pictures we have do it justice.”
During Town Meeting in October, voters approved spending $91,500 of Community Preservation Act funds to obtain another 6.6 acres of Stoney Run land on Main Street.
Land trust officials hope to now close on this property by mid-June. The Community Preservation Committee allocates funds every year for a variety of community projects. Each year, the committee allocates money through the state’s Community Preservation Act in four categories: open space, historic preservation, affordable housing and recreation. The money is raised through a surcharge on property tax bills. The state then matches a percentage of the town-raised money. Funds must be approved at Town Meeting.
Stoney Run starts near Wareham Crossing in West Wareham. It then travels underneath Main Street and feeds into the tidal Broad Marsh River, a tributary to the Wareham River estuary.
“Ecologically, this river is really big deal,” said Bartsch.
The stream supports movement corridors for fish and other wildlife species, including the American eel. Maintaining wetland buffers along the stream helps improve water quality by reducing runoff, said Bartsch.
The Wareham Land Trust is now looking to acquire more acreage along Stoney Run to improve these buffers.
“When you connect pieces of conservation land, you really improve your positive impact on the environment,” Bartsch said.
He noted the land trust will also be looking for grants so it can open up the joined conservation land to the public.
“Ideally, we want to build and maintain paths along Stoney Run that will be designed for senior and disabled residents,” Bartsch said.
Stoney Run is close to the Tremont Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center, and according to Bartsch, residents there don’t have a lot of access to outdoor recreational spaces.
“We want there to be a place for them get out and enjoy nature,” Bartsch said. “We’re very happy with Stoney Run being that location.”