Norwood Farm

The Foundation's Newest Property!

Invaluable for its diversity of habitats and for its raw beauty, this property represented the largest unprotected, privately owned parcel of open space left on Nantucket.  We still need to raise $4.5 million of the $15.3 million needed to protect Norwood Farm. We are asking all of members and supporters, even those who have already made gifts, to make a generous, tax-deductible donation to help us preserve this very special part of Nantucket. No gift is too small. Thank you.

Please click here to go to our secure on-line gift form.

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The Norwood Farm, purchased in December, 2012, is the most recent addition to the Foundation’s conservation holdings. This sprawling and iconic property is located in the Middle Moors, just north of Altar Rock and borders over 3,200 acres of extensive conservation holdings to the west, south, and east. A total of 207 acres have been protected in a joint partnership between the Foundation and the Nantucket Islands Land Bank Commission. Prior to conservation ownership, this property represented the largest unprotected, privately owned parcel remaining on Nantucket and was widely acknowledged as a top-priority open space objective. For many generations of islanders and visitors, the vast open space in the Middle Moors area epitomizes what is so special about Nantucket. As a result of this acquisition, the expansive views of undeveloped conservation land observed in every direction from the top of Altar Rock have now been preserved in perpetuity.

The entire Norwood Farm property was owned by the Jensen Family and encompassed 241 acres. Two building sites totaling 22 acres on Almanac Pond Road and another 12-acre building site on Polpis Road have been retained by the family for their use. The Foundation purchased the remaining 207 acres for $19 million, and then sold a 76 acre portion on the eastern side of the property to the Nantucket Land Bank for $7 million. The Foundation and Land Bank properties are being cooperatively managed as protected open space that is open to the public for low impact recreational uses such as walking, bird watching and nature study. These areas also provide ideal opportunities for scientific research on habitat management techniques, rare plants and wildlife, and Native American and early settler land use. The Foundation is in urgent need of financial support to meet its $12 million obligation for this critical 131 acre acquisition and is reaching out to existing and new supporters for help. To make a contribution towards this important effort, please CLICK HERE.

One of the unique aspects of the Norwood Farm is the varied habitat types that can be found on the property, including forested uplands and wetlands, dense shrublands, freshwater bogs, kettlehole ponds, grasslands and heathlands. Wetlands in the northern portion of the property once supported some of the island’s earliest cultivated cranberry bogs, and the remains of the water management system in use during this period are still evident, including several channelized streams, bridges and culverts. Upland areas in the southern portion of the property were likely tilled for crop cultivation and grazed by livestock during the 1800 and 1900’s. These areas now support open grasslands and shrublands that are interspersed with several small kettlehole wetlands. The diverse types of habitats present on the property support at least 18 rare species that are currently protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, including 5 plants, 13 moths and 1 bird of prey. A series of walking trails traverse the property, and plans are underway for the development of a parking area and trail map to encourage pedestrian access.

For more detailed information about the ecological significance of the Norwood Farm area, please click here.

Purchased by NCF

The Foundation is currently undergoing efforts to raise $15.3 million dollars to complete the purchase of Norwood Farms.  If you’d like to make a contribution to this important part of Nantucket’s natural beauty, please click here to go to our online donations page.