Citing an unexpectedly high level of support to maintain Little Harbor Country Club’s status as one of Wareham’s two golf courses, the Massachusetts Audubon Society has announced that it is abandoning plans to purchase and restore the property to its natural state.
Mass Audubon planned to convert the golf course into a nature reserve by restoring the forests and salt marshes that once existed there. The organization also planned to convert existing golf cart trails into accessible hiking trails. The group was hoping to secure $ 400,000 from the city’s Community Preservation Act will be donated to his efforts.
Mass Audubon officials said the purchase and restoration of the Little Harbor Country Club property would be a step in preserving the larger ecosystem in the area. The land would have served as a complement to Mass Audubon’s other nearby conservation area – the Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
After criticism from city officials and citizens, Mass Audubon has announced that it will abandon its plans.
“When we started the buying talks, it was against the background of research suggesting that golf as a sport had been declining for some time,” Mass Audubon said in a statement. “Mass Audubon prides itself on practicing conservation at the local level and implementing projects that bring a wide range of timely and well-received benefits to the host community. Due to the stronger support for the further golf sport at this place – also on the part of the city government – our nature conservation vision was called into question and from some sides even became the target of unfounded public criticism. “
Some of these criticisms were made during a July 28th Community Preservation Committee meeting.
Judith Whiteside, Chair of the Select Board, expressed frustration that Mass Audubon – an organization she said had gross income of $ 64 million in 2019 – asked the city for $ 400,000, ” to take a common, popular resource that offers recreation ”and convert it to nature reserve. She added that the city was already theirs lack of desire to work with Mass Audubon about the project in previous meetings.
Bernie Pigeon, a Wareham resident and chairman of the finance committee, said he saw no value in investing CPC money to take what he described as “an asset to the community” that serves many of the city’s seniors.
“I don’t feel like the people in the community want to invest in the distance [the golf course]”Said Taube. “It’s not worth our tax money. From my point of view that has no value. “
Following the criticism, Mass Audubon announced on August 25th that it would withdraw from his plans for the country club:
“Mass Audubon made the difficult decision to withdraw from the project,” said Mass Audubon. “This decision was made by mutual agreement of the salespeople, who now have much greater support for continuing the sport they have supported so well over the past four decades.”
The full statement from Mass Audubon is attached as a PDF.
The owners of Little Harbor Country Club were not immediately available for comment.
Mass Audubon said it hoped to be a part of the country club’s future should it ever be of no use as a golf course.
“While we are currently no longer pursuing the purchase of this land for conservation and restoration, we remain confident that if it is determined that golfing on the property is no longer feasible, we can be part of the solution. “Said the statement. “Mass Audubon will continue to serve Wareham as we did – provide access to and teach about nature and preserve the habitat for future generations.”