20 Years Going Strong 1982-2012

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Annual Hike


Sunday November 16, 2014; RAIN DATE Sunday November 23, 2014

10:00 am

All are welcome. This hike will be approximately 2 hours of easy walking. It is possible to do half the hike.

These properties (225 acres) contain many diverse ecological areas including tidal flats, salt marsh, upland maritime forest, wooded swamp and open fields.

Meet at the Shipyard Farm sign on the east side (left) of Sconticut Neck Road, five miles south of Huttleston Ave. There is ample parking along the side of the road.

The Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust is a non-profit organization.  As such, it depends on membership fees to function. For more information about the Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust, contact John Darwin at (508) 667-1040

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2014 Annual Member Meeting

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Your Land Trust needs your help

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2013 Annual Meeting

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Guided Hike on Sconticut Neck Nov. 17, 2012

Come and get to know some of the properties that are preserved and available for public hiking.

The Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust will hold a guided hike of the SHIPYARD FARM and WINSEGANSETT HEIGHTS/MARSHES PROPERTIES on Saturday November 17, 2012.  This hike will be approximately 2 hours of easy walking starting at 12:30, led by Ken Lipman. Ken was very instrumental in setting up the trails throughout this area, and maintains the various footbridges needed to traverse some of the swampy areas.

The Winsegansett Heights, Winsegansett Marshes, and Shipyard Farm properties comprise over 225 acres of protected Trust Lands that contain many diverse ecological areas including tidal flats, salt marsh, upland maritime forest, wooded swamp and open fields, not to mention a relic from the old quahog plant.

Meet at the Shipyard Farm sign on the east side (left) of Sconticut Neck Road, five miles south of Huttleston Ave. There is ample parking along the side of the road.

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In Memory of Founder Dan Mello

Daniel A. Mello

August 29, 2012

Daniel A. Mello, 78, of Fairhaven died August 29, 2012 unexpectedly at St. Luke’s Hospital.He was the husband of Lorraine A. “Lori” (Roy) Mello.Born in Dartmouth, the son of the late Manuel O. and Angelina (Cabral) Mello, he lived in Fairhaven most of his life.Mr. Mello was a communicant of St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett.He was employed by the National Bank of Fairhaven for 37 years starting as a teller and rising through the ranks to president before retiring in 1990. He was a graduate of Fairhaven High School class of 1952 and attended the Williams School of Banking. He was a partner of Mello & Hotchkiss Real Estate.

Mr. Mello was a co-founder of Fairhaven Land Trust, board member of AAA of Massachusetts and antique car owner and enthusiast.

Survivors include his wife; a son, Peter A. Mello and his wife Jennifer of Mattapoisett; a sister, Laura Cabral of Las Vegas; 2 grandchildren, Luke Mello and Joy Mello; and many nieces and nephews.

He was the brother of the late Evelyn Mitchell, Alfred Mello, Gilbert Mello, James Mello, Joseph Mello, John Mello and Manuel Mello.

In lieu of flowers, the family recommends gifts be made in the name of Daniel A. Mello to the Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust, PO Box 491, Fairhaven, MA 02719.

His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, September 6th at 10 AM in St. Anthony’s Church, Mattapoisett. Visiting hours Wednesday, September 5th from 4-8 PM in the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home For Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6) Mattapoisett.

Saunders-Dwyer Funeral Home

50 County Road, Route 6

Mattapoisett, MA USA 02739



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White’s Mill/Factory Today

White’s Factory Today Feb. 9, 2012




White’s Factory as seen approaching from the Acushnet River


It was a beautiful day on Thursday, February 9, 2012, when John Darwin drove me around to the northern properties of the Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust.  One of the historic jewels located in Acushnet is the White’s Factory ruins.  Located on Hamlin Road just west of the Acushnet River are the remains of the old White’s Factory.  The area of this site is rich in history dating back to 1746 when a mill dam was built.

As you approach the site of the old mill ruins from the east, you drive over the dam that predates the mill.   Information derived from A History of the Town of Acushnet, by Franklyn Howland (published 1907), tells us the mill dam was first built soon after 1746 and a new dam was built in 1778.  A saw mill owned by Moses Washburn on this site in 1799 was sold to William White Sr.  The White family had knowledge of manufacturing cotton and woolen goods, so they constructed a stone cotton mill and other buildings.  That mill burned and was rebuilt in 1831.  The White brothers continued in service until 1844 when they sold to Thomas & Dow who enlarged it and put in steam.  That factory burned 1854-1856 and business was discontinued.

Samuel B. Hamlin bought the business and the converted ruins became a saw mill which was owned by his son, James B. Hamlin, in 1907 (the year A History of the Town of Acushnet was published).  The property remained under the ownership of the White family until they donated the property to the Fairhaven-Acushnet Land Preservation Trust in 1998.

For those interested in more detailed history, the book is available in its entirety.


John Darwin is looking at the back of the Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust sign where he has posted a letter received from the Town of Acushnet Building Department in January, 2008, as a warning to visitors to use caution around the site.

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February Board Meeting 2012

MINUTES for Board Meeting  Feb. 8, 2012

Please send amendments, additions and amplifications to me asap.

The Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust Board met Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 6:30 at the Millicent Library.  President John Darwin, Ken Lipman, Cora Peirce, and Treasurer Tom Hood, attended.  Secretary Barbie Burr, Brad Wakeman, Carolyn Longworth and Gunnar Berg did not attend.  Assistant to the board Deborah Chormicle kept minutes.

Secretary’s Report – Minutes of the Jan. 11, 2012, meeting were accepted.

Correspondence received was read (2 articles)

Notification of Abutter Form received from Fairhaven Conservation Commission.  Project Name: Aquaculture, Address: Waters south of Round Island, Description: Raise shellfish. The Public Hearing will be held at 6:30 pm on Feb. 27, 2012. FALPT received this notice as we are abutters to this project request.  There does not seem to be any conflict with FALPT property involving this project.

Letter from David S. Davignon with membership money, and sincere appreciation for use of White’s Mill for his wedding Jun 2, 2012. John suggested he contact Mark Phaneuf, Steward for the White’s Mill property.

Treasurer’s Report- John Darwin reported on the cumulative results of the Membership mailing, having 38 replies and receipt of $2415.

Voted To approve the advertising for the Annual Meeting in the Neighborhood News to run for five weeks at $20 per week. Motion was seconded and passed.

Discussed- Shipyard Farm: John has registered with the USDA office for Bristol County requesting assistance to make the old hay fields on Shipyard Farms into a more bird-friendly environment.  USDA Director Julie A. Vivieros will have to approve the request.  Mark Viveiros was invited to attend this board meeting, but failed to make an appearance.  After much discussion regarding the practice of Mark Viveiros haying of Shipyard Farm, Ken made the following motion.

Voted To allow Mark Viveiros to farm on year-by-year basis.  The vote was not passed.

Meeting Adjourned 7:45 pm.

Next Meeting:  Annual Meeting, March 14, 6:30 pm, Millicent Library

Respectfully submitted by Deborah Chormicle

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Ramblings by John

Fairhaven Acushnet Land Preservation Trust – Early History

The good news is, this year, 2006, the ink is finally set to dry on the Kelleher property. As Mark and Brad Wakeman shared a moment of weary celebration, Brad asked Mark if he remembered the first time they celebrated the Kelleher acquisition. Brad reminded him that they clinked a martini glass in the Fairhaven Chowder House. 1994, Mark recalled. Dr. Kelleher has died, the Chowder House closed long ago, but Mark and Brad keep trudging forward.

They are one powerful combination, the Rasmussen Wakeman team. I recall the summer of 1992(?), listening to the great cracking of one old oak tree after another rip through the air. Even now, I do not know how the developers of Manny Nunes land in Mattapoisett made so much noise destroying a forest, but the sounds of the destruction of that woodland reverberated along Nasketucket Bay like sick violent thunder.

Whenever someone talks about a done deal, I think of the Nunes property. The Mattapoisett voters had passed on it, the Mattapoisett Land Trust had passed on it, and the developers were building their roadways when Brad and Mark attended a land use conference out near Worchester, and a spokesperson for the Governor, Christie Foote-Smith I believe, said the Governor was looking for places to spend money in southeastern part of the state. Mark and Brad approached her after the meeting, and then pursued the deal hard until the state bought the Nunes property at a cost of 8 million dollars, a record amount of state spending.

Their role in that acquisition was hardly acknowledged, if at all. It took the cooperation of many parties to seal that 500 acre 8 million dollar deal – the biggest in state history – and they kept their heads down as they brought the necessary people to the table. But as a close witness to the situation, I can say that after every hope was long gone, and construction was well underway, those two saving angels stepped up and saved that land.

But I digress. The founding members of the Fairhaven Lands Trust were Mark Rasmussen, Danny Mello, Toby Dills, Peter London, David Hewitt, and John Darwin. It was Mark’s idea to have a Trust, and it was an idea everyone embraced warmly. Mark put together the group. They met and talked about concept. Thomas P. Crotty, town counsel for Fairhaven, created a 501 3C agreement, at no charge, and thus the Fairhaven Land Trust became a nonprofit corporation to which people could contribute and receive charitable deductions.

In those early days, as the Trust worked to develop its identity, the directors got info from the Land Trust Alliance. They also looked to other established lands trusts for guidance. There was great debate about all sorts of philosophical dilemmas, for example, small lots.

The national organization, as well as well-established Trusts, warned against accepting small lots. The caveat went something like this -All properties take resources to manage, so make sure you are judicious in accepting gifts.

But some of the early directors loved small lots. Peter London spoke with passion about how big a small lot is to a small child, and asked, where land is better saved than in overdeveloped neighborhoods, where no open space exists. The debate on small lots continued, but the first gift would be a small lot. John Darwin offered a half acre parcel, as a practice piece for Mark, so that he could move through the logistics of accepting land without the pressure of having to look knowledgeable.  This half acre patch of saltmarsh is in Priest’s Cove on Egypt Lane.

Second was Bonny Street West, as it is called, a tenth of an acre where Bonny Street meets New Bedford Harbor. Again, there was debate about accepting something so small, but the Trust went ahead and accepted it anyway. Mark was aboard a ship in the Antarctic.

The owner, who inherited the property, learned through normal inquiry that it was unbuildable. He was advised that a tax deduction could be gotten if the property was given to the Land Trust. Sometime after the gift was made, the sewer line ran by Bonny Street and apparently, with town sewer, the lot may be buildable. A private party offered the Trust $25,000 as well as a three acre swap for an upland property. Of course, the Trust refused to sell or swap Bonny West, as a matter of principle. Presently it is a great place to view sunsets and see coastal wildflowers.

Kempton Meadows Sconticut Neck – 18 acres on Nasketucket Bay. Marshy waterfront and a sandy island off the coast. The owner loved the land, but had a hard time keeping up with the taxes. He gifted the land to the Lands Trust, keeping his summer place so he could continue oystering.

Hathaway Forrest – 22 acres in Acushnet on Hathaway Road – may have been the first piece of property the Fairhaven Land Trust accepted outside the limits of Fairhaven. The story is that the owner logged the property in anticipation of developing it for residential house lots. Unfortunately for the owner, some of the property was subject to the Wetlands Protection Act, and the developer found himself embroiled in an unpleasant controversy as to the applicability of state environmental laws.  Wishing to cut his losses, the developer tried to find an agency to accept the land for a charitable deduction. Mattapoisett refused, stating it would not take Acushnet land. Acushnet did not have a land trust.

I recall thinking that it was a mistake for Fairhaven to step up and accept a controversial property just because it was offered to them. I feared that if the group were going to be open to anyone who wanted to give it anything, the group might lose focus, and perhaps get overwhelmed. Stick with a mission, I thought.

But the directors, in their wisdom, followed their instincts. Eventually, the Fairhaven Land Preservation Trust would benefit immensely from people like Mr. Gilmore a farmer, from Acushnet, Joyce Reynolds, presently Laurel Farrinon. Acushnet people joined the board of directors. Irwin Marks got up at an annual meeting and proposed changing the name to include Acushnet, thus the Trust was renamed the FALPT.

Most significantly, there would be an unfolding awareness of the geological bond which threaded the two towns together. The Acushnet River, with its wetlands and tributaries would show out to be an important environmental commonality. Most importantly, the FALPT, as an organization, would be in a unique position to apply for and receive grant money through the New Bedford Harbor Trustee Council, an organization set up to distribute fines paid by corporations who damaged the Acushnet River.

So the early spirit of the Land Trust was to take what was given, give what was needed and let the splendor of the Trust unfold. And that is just what happened.

Pine Grove Street, 14 acres – on Route six, across from the Capeway Cafe – is the remainder of a family farm. The owner recalled harvesting firewood there. Several developers over many years tried to develop it, and couldn’t get permits. A lot of money was spent on experts trying to delineate the resource areas, and there were appeals made to the state. The owner knew Joyce Reynolds, and over a long period of time, the idea of a Land Trust gift was fostered.

Pine Grove – so called because it is a pine grove of 20 acres, no access, no address, off Rivard Street. Developer gave tag end of development to the Land Trust. When development was built, access was lost. The Trust decided that the access was so dubious to begin with, there was no point in arguing about the loss.

But the loss of access is significant in terms of the lesson it taught the Trust. Always safeguard the access. Now the trust is burdened with a property for which it is responsible, yet it has no way to step onto or even properly locate. Very undesirable.

Moreover, it is a reminder of all the times Town Meeting shortsightedly gave away or sold off the public land by giving away tag ends of public roads which served as public access to the ocean. At one time, many near coastal roads ran all the way to the ocean. One after another, they have been given away to various private individuals who gave the town a reason for closing off public access. Now that we have so few left, we realize how dear they were. The lesson is that people are invariable short sighted about defending and defining access, and too often regret what they took for granted. Always treat the matter of access soberly.

Shipyard Farm 53 acres on Nasketucket Bay, coastal forest, marsh meadow, and salt marsh. Gift from the estate of Peter Haste. Nephew needed a tax deduction; lawyer recommended a donation to a land trust.

Bridge Street 3 acres in Fairhaven near 195 New Boston Road. From Ned Soares, remainder of family farm. Woodland. No perk, no sewer.

Winsegansett Marshes, 160 acres, Across from Shipyard Farm, abutting, and crossing Sconticut Neck. Fronts on New Bedford Harbor. Bought from Helen Silva, with funds from New Bedford Harbor Trustee Council. Funded by industrialist making amends, fines paid by polluters of the Harbor. $340,000

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