David Nelson Sanctuary

Photo of David Nelson sanctuary
The David Nelson Sanctuary, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 14.5 Acres – 1991
Once a hunting retreat, the donor, David Nelson, now deceased, willed Orenda this lakeside 14.5-acre gem on the edge of Great Herring Pond. Under the terms of his estate, no hunting or fishing is allowed. The Sanctuary contains an oak and pine-dominated forest, a briar-tangled wetland, a vernal pool, and remnants of a red maple swamp. In accordance with the donor’s wishes and generous funding, a caretaker’s residence was built on the property in 1994. Today, Orenda’s caretakers provide stewardship for this tranquil sanctuary where the donor and his two dogs are buried. This sanctuary has a thriving plant life: oak, pine, bullbriar, highbush blueberry, bayberry, white birch, chokecherry, red maple. Plenty of songbirds and other avian life nest here: osprey, cardinals, blue jays, song sparrows, doves, finches, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, swallows, chickadees, titmice. And toads, peepers, bullfrogs, mud turtles, snakes, moles, field mice, chipmunks, woodchucks, red & gray squirrels, rabbits are part of this treasured landscape.

The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc., holds the conservation restriction that protects the land in perpetuity. David Nelson also stipulated that Orenda may “construct new buildings on the property if such use or construction is consistent with preserving the property in its natural condition as a woodland and wildlife sanctuary.” David Nelson also provided and endowment for stewardship of this property.

Directions: Drive north on Route 6 over the Sagamore Bridge which changes into Route 3, and from there take Exit 3A. Turn right and go to the bottom of the hill and turn right onto Long Pond Road. At the first fork in the road bear left on to Carter Bridge Road and proceed along the north end of Great Herring Pond. Pass Camp Bournedale and look for an Orenda signboard on your left.

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