With real estate prices soaring on the Island, news that two key Vineyard conservation groups have acquired more than 300 acres of rare, unspoiled waterfront property in Aquinnah for public use is especially momentous.

The property, offering access to both the Atlantic Ocean and Squibnocket Pond, includes much of the estate known as Red Gate Farm, acquired by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1978. Ecologically rare and stunningly beautiful, the property had been on the market since last summer.

Large, undeveloped tracts of land are increasingly scarce on the Vineyard, and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and the Kennedy family all deserve praise for finding a way to preserve this extraordinary slice of the Island. To be called Squibnocket Pond Reservation, the property will eventually be open to the public with trails and kayak launches

The purchase also represents a unique partnership of Island-based groups. More than half the funding for the $27 million purchase will come from the land bank, which receives a two per cent fee on most real estate transactions on the Island. Sheriff’s Meadow has raised $9 million from private donations and needs to raise $3 million more. Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank is financing the transaction. The land bank and Sheriff's Meadow will jointly manage the property, while the Aquinnah town advisory board to the land bank will control the management plan.

In an overheated real estate market, it is easy to forget that Martha’s Vineyard is a coveted place to live exactly because it has not been overdeveloped. We applaud the Kennedy family for choosing to make conservation their legacy, and hope others will follow their lead.