Welcome to the Chatham Conservation Foundation

Mission Statement

The Chatham Conservation Foundation preserves land for the benefit of the people, plants, animals, and ecosystems of Chatham. 

It is a non- profit organization dedicated to the purpose of acquiring land, by gift or purchase, to be preserved in its natural state in perpetuity. It was the first private land trust on Cape Cod when it received its charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1962. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and supported by a dues-paying membership. An annual meeting of the membership is held generally on the first week in August in Chatham.

The Foundation maintains three walking trails for public use on its property and provides a trail map of these areas. The Foundation also owns the Josiah Mayo House at 540 Main Street. Built between 1818 and 1820, the house is located in Chatham center and is open to the public every summer.

Three Walk Series: Explore the Native Lands of Monomoyick Territory                                              


Sponsored by the local land trusts in Chatham, Harwich, and Orleans as well as the Native Land Conservancy, join 12th generation Cape Codder Todd Kelley and native Nipmuck/Wampanoag Marcus Hendricks for a fascinating series of interpretive walks describing the natural landscapes of three specific locations within the centuries old Monomoyick Territory. Explore the historic stories that transpired on each of these lands at the time of European first contact. Consider the lives of the First People and how dramatically their lives and the land itself were influenced and altered during this brief window of time in the seventeenth century.

The Chatham Conservation Foundation, Harwich Conservation Trust, Orleans Conservation Trust, and Native Land Conservancy have partnered to offer this unique walk series. The land trusts in each of the three towns preserve natural lands within their communities while the Native Land Conservancy preserves natural lands across eastern Massachusetts. Formed in 2013, the Native Land Conservancy is the first native-led land trust established east of the Mississippi River.  

$45.00 for the series (if you join one or all three walks, it’s a one-time fee of $45.00)

Advance registration and payment are required. Space is limited.                                                    

To register, visit www.HarwichConservationTrust.org                                                    

Directions will be emailed with registration confirmation

Individual walk descriptions:

Sunday, September 20th, 10:00am – 12:00pm. West Chatham                                                                                                       Samuel de Champlain at Seaquanset 1606

Walk the barrier beach at Ragged Neck and learn about Champlain’s arrival to Stage Harbor in 1606. Consider the story of how this area was named Port Fortune by the Europeans for their “good fortune” of being helped by the natives to reach safe harbor and make ship repairs.  But then consider how that port of good luck quickly became identified as “Place of Mishappenstance”. Also learn how the seasonal lives of the First People at Seaquanset earned this body of water the name Stage Harbor.                                                                                                           

Sunday, September 27th, 10:00am – 12:00pm. East Harwich

Tisquantum and Bradford at Monomoit Bay 1622

Explore the land once known as Captain Jeethro’s farm and visit the feasting site overlook that Squanto and Bradford likely visited when they came into Pleasant Bay to negotiate for corn in 1622. Learn how this area was the seat of the greater Monomoyick Homeland and how it held onto this ancient legacy up through the last unbroken blood-line of Hosey Stephen (d. 1800) and her husband Micah Rafe (d. 1816).                                                                                                                  

Sunday, October 4th, 10:00am – 11:30am. South Orleans

Pompmo and the Legend of Paw Wah Pond 1643

Walk the short trail at Paw Wah Point and learn how this area became known as Portanimicut just after the Nauset Purchase of 1643. We will discuss the historic and social significance of Portanimicut as it emerged as the last native community stronghold east of the Bass River. Intertwined in this story is the life of Pompmo and the “Legend of Paw Wah’s Pond”, through which, we will consider the First People’s perspective on relationship and responsibility to community,  the land itself, and all creatures that live upon it.


Chatham Conservation Foundation, Inc.

104 Crowell Road

Chatham, MA 02633