Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission
 
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How do I obtain public records?
 

This is the official website of Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission

 

Progress report  The land bank continues management planning for its newest properties, the James Pond Preserve in West Tisbury and the Squibnocket Pond Reservation in Aquinnah (this latter property is co-owned with the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation).  Both properties continue to be closed to any public use at this time; the land bank’s goal is to open the Squibnocket Pond Reservation in late 2022 and the James Pond Preserve earlier in the year. 

Permits — including a number of commonwealth permits — must be obtained before the properties can be opened.  The land bank will work diligently to obtain these permits but it is possible that commonwealth review will take longer than planned.  In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to visit the land bank’s many other preserves and reservations.

The Aquinnah land bank advisory board will conduct a public hearing on the Squibnocket plan on December 15 at 5:00 pm via zoom --- see the town website for the zoom invitation --- and the draft plan itself appears under Draft Management Plans on the sidebar, below.


The land bank goat program still has free manure available for pick-up. If you are interested in picking up some manure, please send an email and we will work on setting up a time when someone is available to help load manure. Direct all inquiries to zachary.jessee@vineyardlandbank.com.

 

Reminder:  drones are not permitted to be launched from land bank properties.

 

Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Home Page


Martha’s Vineyard Island has witnessed unprecedented change in the most recent decades. Farming declined; centuries-old pastures and fields were left to knot into vines and shrubs. The "freedom to roam" was curtailed as fences were erected across trails, beaches were gated off and hunting was restricted.

Few of these problems could be solved by planning boards and conservation commissions only; the Vineyard needed a new type of land agency. In the midst of an upspiraling building boom, island voters created the land bank in 1986 and charged it with reversing their losses.

Thirty-five years have now elapsed and nearly 3900 acres have been conserved. Although this sounds impressive , it is actually mighty small: just 7% of the land area on the island.  The commission’s revenue – generated by a 2% public surcharge on most real estate transfers occurring in the six towns – is modest compared to need, ensuring that islanders can expect the land bank to protect only a fraction of their community.

And this money must go far. Farmers, hikers, beachcombers, birders, hunters and many, many others are all constituents of the land bank and all deserve to have some land set aside for their special needs.

The land bank’s private-sector counterparts, fortunately, help out. These trusts' extraordinary work in creating wildlife sanctuaries across the Vineyard frees the land bank to pursue a more diverse mission, where some land bank properties are reserved for wildlife while others are used for agriculture, hunting and/or many other types of conservation use.

Balance is key in land bank property management. Environmental protection leads the list of land bank goals with public use encouraged where and when possible. Trails avoid sensitive areas, signs advise of special precautions visitors need take, and attendants are hired when necessary to oversee use.

The land bank is a rare breed. Neither a sanctuary program nor a park system, it is a middle ground where the highest virtues of conservation can be realized: public enjoyment of nature, where limits and restraint secure the natural world’s future and prosperity.

Visiting the Land Bank Properties

Land bank properties are, except during the hunting season, open daily to the general public from sunrise to sundown (see “Hunting Policy and Forms”). Trails are marked throughout and boundary markers indicate where public land ends and private land begins.

The land bank posts map signs at many properties’ trailheads and is installing others where needed. Handheld maps of each property, showing their trail networks and natural features, are available on this website.

Guided walks conducted by the land bank’s scientific and management staff are scheduled regularly in the off-season. The land bank also sponsors a day-long cross-island hike on National Trails Day, which is the first Saturday in June. Watch the island newspapers for details.


Talk to Us

The land bank welcomes public input on all subjects but especially on land acquisition priorities. The last item of business at all land bank commission meetings (which take place most every Monday at 3:00 pm) is public input; letters are also accepted. In addition, a public input session is scheduled biennially in the autumn.

Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission
167 Main Street
Post Office Box 2057
Edgartown, Massachusetts 02539

508-627-7141


Maureen McManus Hill
Administrative Assistant
mhill@vineyardlandbank.com

Zachary Jessee

Goatherd

zachary.jessee@vineyardlandbank.com

Harrison Kisiel

Land Superintendent

harrison.kisiel@vineyardlandbank.com

Cynthia Magsam Krauss
Fiscal Officer
ckrauss@vineyardlandbank.com

James Lengyel
Executive Director
jameslengyel@vineyardlandbank.com

Julie S. Russell
Ecologist
julie.russell@vineyardlandbank.com