Get outdoors on Cape Cod and the Islands with a visit to one of the properties managed by the Trustees of Reservations. From a camping trip on the dunes to a stroll through a secluded Japanese garden, or a walk-through nature trails, the Trustees of Reservations offers all of these options.
The Trustees of Reservations is a large non-profit land conservation and historic preservation organization based serving the state of Massachusetts. The Trustees own and manage over 100 properties of various types, spanning nearly 27,000 acres, including several properties on Cape Cod and the Islands.
History of the Trustees of Reservations
Established in 1891 by landscape architect Charles Eliot, the organization is the nation’s first and the state’s largest preservation and conservation nonprofit. They preserve landscapes with historic and cultural values across the state and host upwards of 2 million visitors each year and present a number of events and programs. From beaches, coastal dunes, and marshes, lighthouses and historic houses, wooded areas with old growth forest, cultivated gardens, and working farms, the Dunes’ Edge Campground – The Trustees of Reservations Trustees manage a range of different property types with a multitude of uses. They also operate a variety of lodgings, from campgrounds to cottages and even some summer camp programs.
Cape Cod properties managed by the Trustees include the Dunes’ Edge Campground in Provincetown, Lowell Holly Reserve in Mashpee and Sandwich, and the Mashpee River Reservation. Dunes’ Edge Campground is 17 acres bordering the Cape Cod National Seashore. This popular campground is located near the Outer Cape’s beaches, dunes, biking trails, hiking routes, and downtown Provincetown. Lowell Holly, a 135-acre parcel between Mashpee and Sandwich features unique vegetation and nice walking trails. The Mashpee River Reservation spans 248 acres of pristine, undeveloped land. The river supports sea-run brook trout and the property sports pine barrens and several great riverside hiking routes.
The Trustees of Reservations Properties on the Islands
On Nantucket the Trustees manage the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, a rugged 1,117-acre landscape made up of two long peninsulas. This unique barrier beach environment is filled with dunes, cedars, and woodlands.
Martha’s Vineyard has a wealth of Trustees properties, from the Menemsha Hills and Brickyard properties in Chilmark to the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and Mytoi Gardens on Chappaquiddick. Other Trustees’ properties on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, include the Long Point Wildlife Refuge and Cottage in West Tisbury, Norton Point Beach in Edgartown, and Wasque Beach in Chappaquiddick. The Long Point Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest publicly accessible tracts of land on the island and includes 632 acres of salt and freshwater ponds, grasslands, and sandy beachfront. The Trustees also rent the four-bedroom Long Point Beach Cottage, with spectacular views of the refuge and waterfront access.
Norton Point Beach features 254 acres of dunes and sandy beach connecting Martha’s Vineyard to Chappaquiddick. It’s a great place for fishing, birding, shell fishing, picnicking, and more! Shorebirds nest on the sand flats and migratory birds including snowy owls have been known to stop by in the winter months.
While The Trustees had been managing Katama Farm, home of the FARM Institute, in Edgartown since 2016, a dispute with the town’s Conservation Commission over the management of the working farm in the fall of 202 has left the future of the Trustees’ involvement in the property in flux.
Trustee’s properties strive to embody Charles Elliot’s original vision of historic plantings enhancing the natural beauty of the landscapes. Their properties run the gamut from cultivated gardens and farms to wild and rugged natural landscapes and are well worth a visit.
If you’re an avid hiker or aspire to get more miles in, consider joining the Hike Trustees challenge. The challenge, relaunched during the coronavirus pandemic to celebrate the surge of interest in outdoor activities, allows participants to log their hiking miles for a chance to win great prizes!