Years of Talks Pay Off in 62-Acre Conservation Gift Along Middle Road


A wide swath of rolling farmland and wooded hillside that includes a high ridge perched above the scenic Middle Road in Chilmark and West Tisbury will remain forever wild, thanks to an unusual conservation gift from Virginia Crowell Jones and Everett Noteman Jones to The Nature Conservancy and the Vineyard Conservation Society, the Gazette has learned.


The Vineyard could see as many as 7,032 more homes on its 17,475 remaining acres of developable land, officials from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) said at an Island forum held Thursday night.

"That's a relatively short time frame to be faced with some tough choices," said Christian Jacqz, director of Massachusetts Geographic Information System, in a presentation to Island officials at the Howes House in West Tisbury.


It began with a suburban-style subdivision plan, polished like a shiny apple: Maximum density, 54 luxury homes, two beach clubs with swimming pools.

It ended last week with a record real estate sale and a subdivision plan of a markedly different color: Six new luxury homes added to five existing homes and a vast sweep of farmland saved forever.

But between the beginning and the end of the Herring Creek Farm story there is another story.

When Steven McCormick was a law student, he asked a professor to explain the exact meaning of the word perpetuity. The law professor's reply to the young student was simple and direct. "It means forever - and a day," the professor said.

Forever and a day is exactly how long the farm fields will now be preserved at the Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown, and on the Vineyard this week Mr.

Ending months of speculation and more than a decade of bitter warring over development plans - both in and out of court - the 215-acre, ecologically rare Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown was sold this week for a record $64 Million.

The new owners of the storied Great Plains farm include The Nature Conservancy, the FARM Institute and three private buyers.

State Forest Gets Help

The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Forests and Parks has begun to implement a new management plan for the 5,000-acre Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

Concerned about the risk of forest fires, DEM, the state agency responsible for managing the forest, has focused its energies on clearing firebreaks or "safe zones" on the land's perimeter and interior, a plan discussed for several years.