Frequently Asked Questions

I thought I already made a donation when I paid the 2% real estate transfer tax when I bought my house – why should I give the Foundation any more money?

The 2% real estate transfer tax is actually levied by the Nantucket Islands Land Bank (a government agency), not the Nantucket Conservation Foundation (a privately held non-profit). All of the funds needed for acquiring open spaces and for the operating expenses of the Foundation are donated.

While there are several conservation oriented organizations on the island, the differences between them are often confusing. We have a close working relationship with the following groups and work together cooperatively on many projects often fulfilling complementary yet different roles:

Nantucket Island Land Bank Commission – A county agency administered by an elected five member board, it is funded by the aforementioned 2% real estate transfer tax. The Land Bank purchase and manages land for conservation and public recreational purposes.

Nantucket Land Council – A member supported non-profit that works to protect Nantucket by acquiring and enforcing Conservation Restrictions, underwriting scientific research and monitoring proposal being considered by the Town’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission.

Nantucket Conservation Commission – a public regulatory commission whose principal interests include protecting the water resources of the town and enforcing state and local wetlands regulations.

Why isn’t the grass at Tupancy or Sanford Farm mowed more often?

In keeping with our most fundamental mission of preserving and protecting the island’s conservation lands, grass is purposely allowed to grow to a height where it will be able to produce valuable seed which will help in naturally reseeding the land. While this height may be taller than grasses at Town owned parks, it’s important to note that these, and all of our properties, are conservation lands, not parks.

Are the cranberry bogs open to public?

Yes. Some of the island’s most beautiful scenery may be found at the Milestone and Windswept Cranberry bogs. Since these are working farms, however, there may be brief periods where access to certain areas may be restricted due to heavy machinery, spraying, etc. Please call our office at 508-228-2884 to see if any parts of the bogs are off-limits during a time you would like to visit.

Are your properties available for rent for functions like weddings or private parties?

In order to help preserve the pristine nature of our properties, we do not rent them for private functions. In many cases, the individuals or families who have donated properties have stipulated that it be maintained as conservation land and hosting functions would go against their wishes.

What kind of facilities and infrastructure can I find on your properties?

To reduce the manmade impact on the land we have intentionally avoided putting permanent structures on our properties. We do have several historic structures (e.g. the barn at Sanford Farm) and maintenance facilities at the cranberry bogs but don’t have any plans to add more buildings.

Do you do guided tours of your properties?

Yes. We have a wonderful and very popular, guided walk series held in the summer months called the Morning for Members program. While you must be an active member of the Foundation to participate, the opening level for a family membership is only $50 – certainly less expensive than what a tour company would charge for a 2 hour walk and you get the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting the Foundation!

Are your properties open to the public or do you have to be a member?

Unlike many land trust organizations, the Foundation does not require membership or charge usage fees for access to our properties. All of our properties are open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.

Is hunting allowed on Foundation properties?

Yes, but only on certain properties (please see our section Hunting for more information). The Foundation’s Board is mindful of the need to manage the size of the Island’s deer herd, especially because of the connection between the number of deer and the high incidence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases.

Can I put up a memorial or plaque in honor or memory of a loved one on of your properties?

We strive to maintain as natural of an environment as we can for the 213 properties we own. We also go to great lengths to avoid putting up too many fences, signs, markers, paved areas, etc. in accordance with our objective of keeping the open spaces open. Despite the good intentions of people wanting to put up commemorative plaques, we are not able to accommodate these requests in order to keep our properties as devoid of human influence as possible.