Nantucket Conservation Foundation
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the largest land conservation group on the island, was organized in 1963 and owns just over 9,000 acres. The NCF welcomes the public onto most of its properties. You’ll know you’ve found their land when you spot a maroon concrete post displaying the Foundation’s logo. The Foundation offices are at 118 Cliff Road (508-228-2884), and additional information is available at the website, http://www.nantucketconservation.com.
Nantucket Islands Land Bank
The first of its kind in the United States, the Nantucket Islands Land Bank was founded in 1984 and owns just under 3,000 acres on Nantucket. While it welcomes donations of land, the Land Bank acquires most of its properties by two purchasing methods: a two-percent tax levied on most property transfers finances much of the Land Bank’s acquisitions, and bonds taken out by the Town of Nantucket.
In addition to the land of the nine-hole Miacomet Golf Club, the Land Bank also owns considerable beach property and inland holdings that it allows the public to enjoy passively. The Land Bank’s property marker is a wooden post capped with a green, blue and white Land Bank marker. The Nantucket Islands Land Bank is administered from 22 Broad Street (508-228-7240). Go to http://www.nantucketlandbank.org for the complete Land Bank story.
Nantucket Land Council
More a lobby for island environmental justice than a buyer of undeveloped land, the Nantucket Land Council works in concert with the other island land groups. When it does acquire land, the Land Council, which was incorporated in 1974, first clears title to a property and then passes the land on to the Land Bank, the Conservation Foundation, or another island land conservation organization, sometimes only for the cost of legal expenses. While the Land Council does own and maintain a few hundred acres around Nantucket, its staff spends a good percentage of its time at Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Planning Commission, Historic District Commission, and other town review board meetings — making sure new development doesn’t encroach upon or destroy the island’s natural world. The Land Council is a champion of the island’s harbors and ponds, watersheds and groundwater supply, and it subsidizes rare species and water quality research. It also helps land owners place their property under conservation restrictions and holds these restrictions itself. These restrictions prohibit development on the land while preserving it in its natural state. As of this printing, the Land Council has negotiated conservation restriction for 33 parcels of land on more than 400 acres. You will find the Nantucket Land Council at 6 Ash Lane (508-228-2818) and online at http://www.nantucketlandcouncil.org.
Linda Loring Nature Foundation
Founded in 1999, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation is the dream come true of Nantucketer Linda Loring, with a goal of land preservation and science education. The LLNF operates on 86 acres of sandplain grassland, coastal heathland, and vegetated wetland habitat to the north of the Head of Long Pond. They offer walking trails open to the public, natural world educational programs with island schools, and collaborative research and education activities with other Nantucket conservation organizations. LLNF staff lead birding field trips on and off the property, plant and nature hikes, geocaching adventures, and sponsors their own The Nantucket Birding Festival in October.
Massachusetts Audubon Society
About 900 of the 28,000 acres owned statewide by the Massachusetts Audubon Society are on Nantucket. Operating on membership dues, donations, and federal and private grants, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, founded in 1890, is separate from the National Audubon Society. The MAS watches over 37 wildlife sanctuaries in the state, including one at Hummock Pond and a second at Sesachacha Pond on Nantucket. These properties are marked by the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s maroon and white signs. To learn more about the Society, visit its website http://www.massaudubon.org, or call 508-228-9208.
The Trustees of Reservations
A steward of mostly sand dunes, beaches, and saltmarshes, the Trustees of Reservations owns and manages 1,117 acres of Nantucket’s northeastern tip, called Great Point. The Trustees of Reservations is the oldest private statewide preservation and conservation organization and holds and manages more than 33,000 acres in Massachusetts. On Nantucket, the Trustees let four-wheel drivers onto their beaches for the annual sticker permit fee of $140 or $65 a day. The walking public is welcomed at no charge. You’ll know you’re on Trustees land if you spot green and white plastic signs bearing the Trustees’ insignia. For Nantucket information, call 508-228-5646, and for the Trustees’ Great Point Natural History Tours, call 508-228-6799.
Two smaller island groups, the Madaket Land Trust and the ‘Sconset Land Trust, each own less than 100 acres on their respective ends of the island. They depend primarily on the generosity of private donors to fund purchases of land that will preserve the character, wildlife, and vegetation of their island villages. You will reach the Madaket Land Trust (508-228-0841) only during the summer, since its members are all summer residents, but the ‘Sconset Land Trust is accessible year-round by calling 508-228-9917.