Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, the Edgartown property that gives its name to the Island’s largest private landowner and conservation group, is slated for restoration.
Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, said at the foundation’s annual dinner this week that more than $300,000 of the $500,000 needed to refurbish and maintain the 20-acre property for public use has already been raised, and the foundation is actively seeking the balance from friends and neighbors.
“Views that once rewarded the walker have become obscured, invasive plants are throttling native ones, boardwalks need replacement and the trails have become too narrow,” Mr. Moore said. “The result will be a sanctuary that is more welcoming, more enjoyable, more ecologically sound and an even greater community asset.”
The plan, approved last year by the Edgartown conservation commission, will replace boardwalks, restore meadows, remove invasive plants and trim trees that now block water views from various vantage points along the trail, Mr. Moore told a crowd of about 300 that attended the foundation’s annual summer benefit on Monday night. For the second year, rain threatened to mar the popular event, but a brief light drizzle did not dampen attendance at the Edgartown home of Sal and Anne Giordano, a stone’s throw from the foundation’s namesake property.
The sanctuary and the foundation were founded in 1959 by longtime Gazette editor, Henry Beetle Hough and his wife, Elizabeth Bowie Hough, in an effort to preserve from development old fields and a pond once used for ice. Both the sanctuary and the foundation have grown through gifts of land and money. The foundation now owns almost 2,000 acres outright and has conservation restrictions on another 858 acres.
In his remarks, Mr. Moore outlined the missions of the various land conservation groups at work on Martha’s Vineyard, and distinguished Sheriff’s Meadow as the Island’s local land trust, which allows a range of uses of its properties without charging fees for public use.
He also described a new approach to fund-raising in which the foundation is seeking not only donations of property, but endowments to maintain the donated land. Restoration of the sanctuary project, for example, is expected to cost $250,000 to complete, but the foundation is creating an equal-sized endowment to maintain the land on a continuing basis.