Lawrence Island Wildlife Sanctuary
by Gordon Schimmel
TRAIL MAP for Lawrence Island
"Islands have always had a special significance. While Lawrence may not be as large or historic as England, as green as Ireland, it is warmer than Iceland. But, most importantly, it is right here where our children and their children can enjoy it.". ~ Chuck Mehmel, BCT Newsletter, 1987
Forty years ago, with development booming all over Cape Cod, the Bourne Conservation Trust's first purchase was Lawrence Island, an effort supported by a robust fundraising campaign. Tracing ownership through the years is a long and complicated process but eventually the Trust was able to acquire the property from Red Acre Farm, a charitable organization that trained service dogs for the deaf. Partnerships with the State, the Town, and the Audubon Society were considered but, to retain local control, sole ownership by the BCT became the goal.
The price for the nearly 8-acre parcel was $150,000 and it took almost 5 years to raise the funds. In 1986, with more than 100 people in attendance, the mortgage was burned in a triumphant ceremony. Cannon fire capped the event and the report echoing across Squeteague Harbor declared to all that land preservation would continue to grow in Bourne.
Very limited parking for walks on Lawrence Island is available on Grasslands Lane, just off Scraggy Neck Road. The island is accessed using a footpath along the shore and visitors are asked to respect the private property abutting the trail. Please note: hikers accompanied by dogs are requested to leash their companions while using this shared public/private footpath.
The harbor and shoreline boast an array of residential wildlife, a variety of waterfowl and sea creatures that make Buzzard's Bay their home. On occasion, the shoreline is carpeted with thousands of shells, a gift of southwest winds, punctuated here and there with marooned jellyfish.
However, the most impressive residents are those that arrived long before native peoples and European settlers: several large slightly pink boulders, what geologists call erratics. Think of them as 12,000 to 15,000 year-old "wash-a-shores," abandoned by the retreat of the last Great Ice Age. Some of these glacial time-travelers may even bear scratch marks – nature's petroglyphs - created by rock against rock. A walk with giants could not be more impressive.
Lawrence Island Slideshow
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