The Vineyard Conservation Society announced Monday that it had received a year-end gift of 30 acres on Moshup Trail in Aquinnah from the family of Caroline Kennedy.
The gift from Red Gate Farm LLC consists of a series of 17 small and mid-sized parcels on the north side of the trail.
“We’re grateful for this year-end gift to the Island. It represents an important conservation gain, adding several strategic heathland sites to the Moshup conservation area,” VCS said in a short press release issued Monday.
Reached by telephone, VCS executive director Brendan O’Neill said the parcels are not all contiguous and range from small slivers of land to almost six acres in size. The total value of the lots is $3.7 million, he said.
The lots will be added to about 40 acres the conservation group currently holds in its Moshup Trail conservation project, a long-running effort to conserve the rare heathland environment on the extreme western edge of the Vineyard. The project has involved the state, the town and other conservation groups and dates back for some 30 years.
It began in earnest in 1995 with a $500,000 state self-help grant that went to the town, VCS and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation to buy and preserve land on Moshup Trail, especially in the watershed protection area. That work has been successful to date, Mr. O’Neill said, and the Kennedy family gift will help further conservation efforts along the trail.
“The aim is to protect this whole remarkable watershed, and we are grateful for these additions to the Moshup Trail project,” he said.
The Kennedy family owns about 300 acres at Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah.
Last year the family place two undeveloped parcels totalling 93 acres at the farm on the market for sale. The lots are listed at $25 million and $39.5 million apiece.
Mr. O’Neill said the lots that were given to VCS are unrelated to that land and are all separate from the farm in various locations along the trail.
The news marks the second year-end gift of land to a conservation group in one week. Last week the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank announced that it had received a gift of land from the Strock family that includes 1,000 feet of beachfront on the Lagoon Pond in Oak Bluffs.