Tuesday Trivia - Hingham's Conservation Properties
By Kristen Arute, Updated: May 19, 2020
Whether it was the Governor's announcement of restrictions being lifted on businesses and activities or the springlike weather, everyone is eager to get outside to enjoy some fresh air and recreation. So where can you go locally? From World's End in the north to Accord Pond in South Hingham, stretching from Bare Cove Park in the west to Turkey Hill near West Corner (which is actually on the east side of town), there are 77 conservation properties in Hingham that contain 24 miles of public trails.
Some properties, like Wompatuck State Park and Great Esker Park, overlap both Hingham and other communities. However, not all properties in Hingham are managed by the Conservation Commission. Other groups include the Board of Selectmen, Recreation Commission, School Department, Country Club Management Committee, Bare Cove Park Committee, Harbor Development Committee and Department of Public Works. There are also The Trustees of Reservations, Aquarion Water Company and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Conservation easements protect views and natural resources, and some private institutions, such as Derby Academy and Notre Dame Academy, hold lands that protect the environment.
In 2017, the Hingham Land Conservation Trust (HLCT) created a map of all the properties called "Parklands for the Public," and South Shore Trails has compiled a list of all of Hingham's trails. While all are welcome to use conservation land for "passive recreation," there are certain activities that are prohibited. For example, vehicles are not permitted on the properties, and camping is only allowed with written permission from the Conservation Commission. A complete list of rules and regulations governing the use of Hingham's conservation land can be found here.
When Route 3 was completed in 1960, open land in Hingham became increasingly valuable. By 1965, Hingham had formed the Conservation Commission, and the Hingham Land Conservation Trust was established in 1972. The Massachusetts Audubon Society reports that between 2005 and 2013, approximately 38,000 acres of forest or other undeveloped land were converted to development in Massachusetts statewide. This translates to a pace of 13 acres per day. However, during that same time, around 41 acres per day were protected by state agencies, municipalities, private landowners and conservation groups. In Hingham alone, 13 parcels were purchased for conservation using CPA funds. "New development continues to alter the landscape," says the HLCT. "However, Hingham has been successful in preserving additional open spaces."
So whether it's a picnic on Button Island or a hike around Cranberry Pond, "the best way to get to know Hingham’s parklands is to wander through them."