David Nelson Sanctuary

David Nelson Sanctuary

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Although the property had once been used as a retreat for hunting, the donor conveyed this 14.5 acre sanctuary to Orenda in his will, proclaiming that he wished the property to be a wildlife preserve where hunting and fishing would thereafter be prohibited. On the edge of Great Herring Pond in Plymouth, 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.

Observed/Protected Species
Oak, pine, bullbriar, highbush blueberry, bayberry, white birch, chokecherry, red maple. Osprey, cardinals, blue jays, song sparrows, doves, finches, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, swallows, chickadees, titmice. Toads, peepers, bullfrogs, mud turtles, snakes, moles, field mice, chipmunks, woodchucks, red & gray squirrels, rabbits.

A pair of bald eagles have been spotted this past winter (2009) by the caretakers in the woods of the David Nelson Sanctuary beside Great Herring Pond.

Abutting Land/Surrounding Area
Much of the surrounding area is residential, with many houses and docks along the shoreline of the pond. Great Herring Pond and other adjacent lands referred to as the Herring River Watershed were designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in October 1991.

Acquisition Date
December 4, 1991

How Acquired
Donated, via Will, by David Nelson

Restrictions/Approved Uses
There is a conservation restriction held by The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts to protect 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.

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