The unique geological formation of Cape Cod with a single source aquifer and its fragile fresh and saltwater ecosystems requires good stewardship of the land. Currently over 785 acres of upland, beach, pond area and marsh are in the Chatham Conservation Foundation’s inventory of protected lands. The Foundation either owns title to the land or a Conservation Restriction on the use of the land. Parcels vary from large expansive, easily accessible properties to small fractions-of-an-acre parcels where access is prohibited. All are important achievements in the pursuit of preserving open space.
*Properties are accessible to the public only where noted; as for most, public access is inappropriate or restricted by deed.
This forest and marshland located off Bridge Street extending south to Morris Island Road provides 41.69 acres of protected open space providing cover for a large variety of wild birds and animals native to the area. It was acquired mainly by gifts over a period of time from 1970 to 1998. Of the 41+ acres, 1.77 were purchased by the Foundation. (No access)
Fox Hill Island
This 2.5 acre parcel was the first piece of land gifted to the Foundation in 1962. It is located in the Bassing Harbor area of Pleasant Bay and accessible by boat and from the Town Landing at Strong Island Road. (Public access)
Chatham Bars Swamp
Located very near to Main Street off Chatham Bars Avenue, this area of 7.89 acres was acquired in 7 parcels beginning with the purchase of the marsh itself in 1966. Subsequent purchases and gifts, the most recent in 2004, have added significant wooded upland to the holding, making it a well balanced small ecosystem, supporting a wide variety of wild creatures. Not the least of these, a colony of red-winged blackbirds heralding the end of winter, and the much appreciated chorus of spring-peepers serenading the neighborhood in April. (No access)
Strong Island is the gem of Pleasant Bay. The Town of Chatham received 70 acres of marshland as a gift from the owner. In 1974, the Foundation received 26.81 acres as a gift from the owner and purchased the remaining 48.93 acres. Three acres were reserved for private use. This spectacular island offers a large beautiful sheltered beach on the north side. There are upland trails that offer expansive views of the ocean and Pleasant Bay. In 2004, the Foundation erected signs that clearly mark the area for Private Use and asks visitors to respect those boundaries. (Public access)
The Foundation was indeed fortunate that the owners of a large portion of land bordering the Goose Pond on the south and east were favorable towards the idea of conservation. The 1995 purchase of 23.1 acres ensures the pristine beauty of this remarkable pond. (No access)
The Town of Chatham also owns land bordering the west side of the pond as Town Conservation Land including a Fisherman’s Landing.
Barclays Pond and Trail
This 47.26 acre parcel is located off Queen Anne Rd. near the Town Conservation area known as the “Golden Triangle” formed by Old Comers, Training Field and Old Queen Anne Roads. It was acquired by gifts and purchases over time from 1968 - 1986. One access to the delightful walking trail, which courses through pine-oak forest and provides lovely views of the pond, is located off Old Queen Anne Road and is marked by a sign. Just to the west of the sign is a small parking area offering another entrance to the trail. (Public access)
Frost Fish Creek
This large 83.7 acre area that follows Frost Fish Creek from Rt. 28 SW to Meadowbrook Rd. consists of 8 parcels which were acquired from 1967 -1999. Almost half the area was gifted, the rest purchased by the Foundation. The trail meanders along the creek and back into some forested upland. (Public access)
This wonderful estuary serves as a natural border between the towns of Chatham and Harwich. The Chatham side has been heavily developed, but fortunately the developers wished to preserve the water’s edge. From 1963-1995 26 acres in 8 parcels along the river were gifted to or purchased by the Foundation and 38 acres were placed under a deeded Conservation Restriction held by the Foundation. The Foundation also received a gift of beach front at the mouth of Muddy Creek on Pleasant Bay. (No access)
There is a public beach on Pleasant Bay to the north. In 2003 the Harwich Conservation Trust was able to purchase over 43 acres on the north side of Muddy Creek . CCF for the first time made a significant contribution to another organization’s effort to conserve land in the spirit of ignoring political boundaries when it comes to land conservation.
In 1964 the Foundation received two gifted parcels totaling 28.75 acres of beautiful marshland. (No access)
Ridgevale Beach Hills
This piece of former cranberry bog of 19.27 acres was acquired as 8 parcels mainly by gift from 1966-2002. It lies off Cranberry Lane in South Chatham. Parcel #11 and others. (No access)
This 8.66 acres of gifted land lies off Shattuck Place and runs to the Mill Pond as parcel #172 and others. It abuts two other gifted parcels in the area making the total 11 acres of preserved land very near the center of town. (No access)
This small .97 acre, but very significant piece of land is the site of Chatham’s only active herring run. It was acquired by purchase in 2005 after a successful capital campaign. The owners had previously gifted an adjacent piece on Ryder’s Cove in 1963. The Herring Run travels from Ryder’s Cove to Stillwater Pond. The property is visible from Rt. 28. Parcel #179. (Access only within fenced area).