To the editor:
This is an urgent appeal to our neighbors, friends and voters of Rockport.
Town Meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Rockport High School auditorium. The selectmen are proposing to put several land parcels up for sale that will ultimately lead to development (known as Article I).
One of these parcels includes wetlands and woods along the dirt road of Straitsmouth Way. The east side of the road (right as you walk toward the water) is conservation land and includes the Kieran Preserve. The west side is proposed for sale. It includes active underground streams that are sourced from the South Woods, a sizable vernal pond and over one-third of the parcel is wetlands. Even by late August, the wetlands are still wet. Most notably, the late Ted Tarr used to lead groups along the nature trails. And yes, the trails need to be restored and remarked for public use. This is a perfect Boy Scout project or community service opportunity!
Our appeal to you is about the vernal pond, wetlands, forestry and wildlife; the west side of Straitsmouth Road. This summer, area neighbors noticed a marked return of wildlife to the woods. Of significance: Families of barred owls, red tailed hawks, mourning doves, pileated woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, hummingbirds, salamanders, and those wonderful spring peepers. Our regulars include white-tailed deer, red fox, grey fox, fisher cats, coyotes and the beloved turkeys!
Nature is a scarce and precious resource. Once it is gone, it is difficult to entice its return. What makes Rockport truly special is the diversity of our ecosystems, terrains and the abundance of nature. In the Gap Head area, the Straitsmouth woods is one of the last forested areas remaining from development. If our wildlife could vote, they would surely vote no on Article I and act to conserve the Straitsmouth woods from further development. All creatures big and small — mammals, birds, amphibians and humans should be allowed to co-exist.
Please, we invite you to come to Straitsmouth Way. Get out of your cars, get off your cellphones and take a leisurely walk. Please experience the woods first-hand. Stop and listen or perhaps sit on the nature bench that is provided for your pleasure. Please educate yourself before casting a vote. The Straitsmouth woods is one of the remaining pristine treasures from the Maria Phillips Estate called “Ye Stone Haven.” It would be a disservice to our town to sell this property.
We look forward to your visit and invite your thoughts at Town Meeting.
Bruce and Elisabeth Perkins