Great Neck Conservation Area - Wareham, MA
Jack’s Marsh (25.4 acres)
Minot-Weld Conservancy (53 acres)
Mink Cove-Elkins Reservation (25.6 acres)
Jack’s Marsh: John W. Peirce 1986
Minot: Grace Minot Peirce and John Wylde to The Nature Conservancy, 1968 and later transferred to the Wildlands Trust as: Minot Conservancy (42 acres), 1975.
Weld: Indian Neck Associates (11 acres), 1981
Mink Cove-Elkins: Grace Minot Peirce, 1976 (9 acres); Dr. William L. Elkins, 1979, 1980 (16.6 acres)
John W. Peirce, a founding director of Wildlands Trust, was the mastermind behind the acquisition of Great Neck Conservation Area and other properties in Wareham. His long-range vision and careful planning facilitated a number of important conservation successes. He and his wife donated several key parcels in the Conservation Area.
These contiguous properties offer a walk through varied coastal habitats. Begin your visit at Jack’s Marsh, where the trail leads past a saltwater marsh, an abandoned cranberry bog, and the shores of Swan Pond to the Minot-Weld Conservancy. There, a path travels through the pinelands that dominate the preserve. Look for a kettle pond where common cattails, Phragmites australis, fragrant waterlilies and wild cranberries are among the wetland plants that grow here. To the southeast, young pitch pines surround Griffith Bog, which was cultivated as a cranberry bog in the early twentieth century, and is now in the process of reverting to a white cedar swamp. A fine stand of mixed pine and oak forest marches up the slopes of Bourne Hill in the western portion of the preserve. Bourne Hill, viewed from above or on a map, reveals the teardrop shape of a drumlin-a smooth hill formed thousands of years ago beneath retreating glaciers.
The trail leads across Philip Saltonshall-Weld Memorial Forest, owned by the New England Forestry Foundation. Follow the loop trail to Mink-Cove Elkins Reservation. This coastal preserve is a delight for birders and naturalists with its dramatic views of Mink Cove. Watch for wintergreen, sheep laurel, bearberry, and mountain laurel. Mayflower, a prominent heath, blooms here in late spring. Its small white or pink blossoms scent the air with subtle fragrance. At the salt marsh and mud flats on the edge on Mink Cove, you may see ospreys, snowy egrets, great egrets, green-backed herons, great blue herons, and sharp-tailed sparrows. The return of the osprey has become an eagerly awaited event each spring.