Yesterday, was such an amazing day. A great regional event occurred that has such a positive and long lasting affect on the Greater Newburyport Area that we will feel its affects for many years to come!
The little acquisition of 24.5 acres off of Scotland Road. (Directly across from the State Police barracks) You soon won’t drive by it without noticing the large park signage (along with a very nice kiosk and parking area)
- As an historic preservationist, I am very excited.
- As a former rock hounder, I am thrilled.
- As a conservationist and watershed supporter I am relieved.
- As an environmentalist, I am re-assured.
- As a regional quality-of-life supporter, I am very happy for Newbury in particular.
This little land purchase will be felt all the way to City Hall on Green Street. But there was not one official from the City of Government! My only conclusion is that societal compartmentalizing made our municipal officials think this was a ‘Newbury issue’. How wrong could they be!?!
First, there had been proposed a 22-house development that would have torn down a forest and wetlands area south of Scotland Road. In this day when everyone wants a chemically-induced lawn, the affects of this housing would have had terrible on the wetlands that surround it. A wetlands that feeds into two directions: into our beautiful Artichoke Reservoir that provides our drinking water, and into the Common Pasture that contributes to the health of the Great Marsh which is, in effect, a giant fish hatchery so crucial to our fishermen’s way of life and for the myriads of birds that pass through on their migratory route.
Second, the Chipman Silver Mine was literally a stone’s throw from the little tent that was set up for the guest speakers to do their speeches. The development would have plowed under a crucial part of Newbury & Newburyport’s silver legacy – a favorite haunt of rock hounders looking for what is left of the silver ore and forever marked by pieces at the Cushing House and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Third, this expands the area where hunters can roam. So many in Newburyport have mixed feelings about this situation but the fact is that deer populations (thankfully disease-free at this moment of time) have skyrocketed to unhealthy levels in Essex County. Why? Because there is an every shrinking amount of places for hunters to safely do their business of controlling the populations. This can eventually lead to ecological damage, diseases amongst the deer and more property damages as desperate animals seek an every shrinking source for food. Made worse recently, the coyote populations which normally hunt the deer have been decimated by an extra-virulent form of rabies and are only now starting to recover. Expanding areas where human hunters can safely roam will help greatly in protecting our Common Pasture and Wildlife Areas.
Fourth, Newbury has suffered greatly from poor land management. The idea has been two-fold damaging – the idea of allowing farms to slice off pieces of their properties to build housing so the agricultural business will stay afloat and the mistaken idea that more homes means a larger tax base. Unfortunately, this has led Newbury to lose its rural status and increasingly become another part of the suburban sprawl. And second, every time one of these homes is built, three to four times in tax revenue must be generated to provide services and enhance infrastructure. I saw this huge new expensive firehouse built near Byfield – hardly necessary if the Town had stayed rural. The result has been a town that is dangerously close to receivership. By slowing this incessant house building, Newbury has signaled that enough is enough. Let’s hope it means stopping the farms from selling off their lands! (That means adopting CPA to buy up the land!)
WOW, WHAT A GREAT VICTORY FOR THE ENTIRE REGION!*
* Not mentioned in the dull press release in the Daily News today – much thanks should go to Ann Gagnon, Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Acquisition Agent and Marlene Schroeder, President of Parker River Clean Water Association and Pat Huckery of Save Martin Burns. (We are definitely losing out with the local paper on a skeleton crew!)