People can now enter Beebe Woods off Sippewissett Road through the Kelly Woodland and Wildlife Corridor, a joint 300 Committee Land Trust and Buzzards Bay Coalition conservation land acquisition.
The land is now accessible thanks to the help of local Boy Scouts who made the Mitzell/Hopkins trail last month and a parking lot at the trail head.
The new conservation land links the Flume Pond conservation land to Beebe Woods creating a continuous protected land area of just over 500 acres.
“From a natural resources and conservation perspective this was a significant acquisition,” said Lucy C. Helfrich, director of program services with The 300 Committee. “It creates a wildlife corridor from Buzzards Bay to the moraine.”
The land encompasses a coastal environment, barrier beach, Flume Pond, wetland, and the moraine, rocky terrain formed by retreating glaciers. Animals walking along the corridor may include deer, coyote, fox with salamanders and frogs in the wetland.
Access to Beebe Woods from the west side also opens up a whole area of the woods that generally is less explored compared to the eastern side entered near Highfield Hall, Ms. Helfrich said.
It was a two-part acquisition from the George F. Kelly and Mary Ella Kelly family. The family was planning to sell a 0.53 acre parcel and the Sippewissett Association suggested that The 300 Committee look at the property because it connected to Beebe Woods. The parcel purchase price was $235,000. The Kelly family also added a donation of 2.6 acres which includes wetland to the deal bringing the total to 3.13 acres.
“Upon reflection it seemed like it was reasonable,” said William Kelly, George and Mary Ella’s son. “It allows them to get to Beebe Woods from the lot they purchased.”
The donated wetland, which has local and state restrictions, must remain open space.
The family has a history of supporting conservation land efforts. Mr. Kelly’s father worked at NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center and was a member of the conservation commission.
“Bill himself is a big supporter of conservation,” said Jessica K. Whritenour, the executive director of The 300 Committee. “We were speaking the same language.”
Mr. Kelly said that they started discussions on the conveyance of the property shortly before his father died. He said that his mother is very happy that the town now has the land.
In late March a group of 23 scouts and other volunteers organized by Falmouth High School senior Troy Otter, who is working toward his Eagle Scout medal, came to carve out the Mitzell/Hoskins trail through the woodland to Beebe Woods cutting brush and raking the trail which meets the woods at the granite stone marker number 77.
“It’s just a good group to work with and they needed volunteers,” Troy said about The 300 Committee.
The group also cleaned up the Flume Pond property trail and installed a culvert bridge for easier and safer access to the land which is across the street from the woodland parcel on Sippewissett Road. The group clocked a total of six hours, 155 man hours for the day Troy said.
“It was hard work but we got to be out there with friends,” Troy said. “It was a good time.”
A boulder unearthed during the parking lot construction, with two benches, mark the the Mitzell/Hoskins trail head. The cost for this site improvement was about $25,000. A kiosk made by Robert M. Porto’s eighth grade engineering class at Lawrence School is also at the trail head. A 300 Committee sign on the side of Sippewissett Road at the parking lot entrance has a statement requested by the Kelly family which reads “May peepers sing their chorus forever.”