SCT is turning 40!

John at the KnobFor readers who can relate, do you remember your 40th birthday? Did you have a fun party, and did reaching that milestone have any special meaning? The Sandwich Conservation Trust will be turning 40 next year. 

Now, with no offense intended to those who live in subdivisions or those who built them, I must recall the feelings of desperation that many Cape Codders felt, witnessing the rapid pace at which subdivisions were being built in the 1970s and 80s. It was hardest for those of us who grew up here and held the rural landscape in affection. It was the experience of this full speed

growth pattern that led to the creation of non-profit land trusts in all the Cape towns.

The first such organization was the Chatham Conservation Foundation, formed in 1962. Most of the local conservation trusts were organized in the 1980s. Concurrent with this movement was the activation of open space committees in the various towns, resulting in a lot of beautiful and important land being saved. A slow-down in construction did ensue in the late 80s, as economic changes occurred. With tighter budgets, town purchases of land also slowed to a halt.

Meanwhile, however, land trusts kept busy growing membership, financial resources, and in reaching out to land owners interested in preserving their land, and working diligently to achieve this goal. Also, after much hard work and setbacks, in 1998 the Cape Cod Land Bank Bill was passed, giving towns the means to make substantial land purchases.

Some land trusts with a strong financial start were able to hire a part-time Executive Director, a move which accelerated organizational growth and accomplishment. Other trusts relied solelyon volunteers to form a Board of Trustees with officers, establish an office in someone’s home, reach out to the public, raise funds, meet, and take actions. The SCT is in the latter grouping, but has been able to utilize the technical services of a regional service non-profit: The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts. Mark Robinson has been a constant source of support and advice.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the current SCT Board of Trustees and our members, also everyone who has contributed time and support since our founding in 1985.


Posted by John N. Cullity, SCT president