Sandwich is considering the purchase of 11 acres of land— which borders conservation land owned by the Town of Barnstable—that would create a large, contiguous, scenic tract of forest and marsh.
The acreage encompasses two parcels, which also border conservation land already owned by Sandwich. The parcels contain a vernal pool and a cranberry bog, Natural Resources Director David J. DeConto said.
The overall conservation area, which is bisected by the town line between Sandwich and Barnstable, already has walking trails and more would be added.
If the voters at the annual Town Meeting next month approve the $450,000 request for community preservation funds to purchase the land, Sandwich would also add a small parking area on Meiggs-Backus Road.
The community preservation committee and the board of selectmen have met in executive session over the past few months to discuss the property acquisition. Such land negotiations are typically kept under wraps until a Town Meeting is imminent.
Mr. DeConto said the town has already applied for a grant that would, if awarded, cover about 60 percent of the purchase cost.
The land is currently owned by the Baker/La Flam family, which seeks to sell property to municipalities to preserve open space rather than see the land developed, Mr. DeConto added.
Acquiring such contiguous acreage is a priority for the town, Mr. DeConto said. Such large open spaces preserve a more natural setting for plants and animals than smaller parcels wedged between neighborhoods and commercial areas.
It provides passive recreational areas for outdoor enthusiasts who flocked to the town’s existing conservation lands during the past year to escape the COVID lockdown.
“It’s all about quality of life—preserving the land for people to enjoy,” Mr. DeConto said. “Large tracts like these make a greater contribution to the ecosystem.”
The town currently owns and manages some 1,500 acres of conservation land.