An investigation by the Committee on Finance for the United States Senate has thrust The Nature Conservancy and its conservation buyer program under a spotlight, and along with it the record $64 million sale of the Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown.


Years of Talks Pay Off in 62-Acre Conservation Gift Along Middle Road


A wide swath of rolling farmland and wooded hillside that includes a high ridge perched above the scenic Middle Road in Chilmark and West Tisbury will remain forever wild, thanks to an unusual conservation gift from Virginia Crowell Jones and Everett Noteman Jones to The Nature Conservancy and the Vineyard Conservation Society, the Gazette has learned.


The Vineyard could see as many as 7,032 more homes on its 17,475
remaining acres of developable land, officials from the state Executive
Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) said at an Island forum held
Thursday night.

"That's a relatively short time frame to be faced with
some tough choices," said Christian Jacqz, director of
Massachusetts Geographic Information System, in a presentation to Island
officials at the Howes House in West Tisbury.


It began with a suburban-style subdivision plan, polished
like a shiny apple: Maximum density, 54 luxury homes, two beach clubs
with swimming pools.

It ended last week with a record real estate sale and a
subdivision plan of a markedly different color: Six new luxury homes
added to five existing homes and a vast sweep of farmland saved

But between the beginning and the end of the Herring Creek
Farm story there is another story.

When Steven McCormick was a law student, he asked a professor
to explain the exact meaning of the word perpetuity. The law
professor's reply to the young student was simple and direct. "It
means forever - and a day," the professor said.

Forever and a day is exactly how long the farm fields will
now be preserved at the Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown, and on the
Vineyard this week Mr.

Ending months of speculation and more than a decade of bitter warring over development plans - both in and out of court - the 215-acre, ecologically rare Herring Creek Farm in Edgartown was sold this week for a record $64 Million.

The new owners of the storied Great Plains farm include The Nature Conservancy, the FARM Institute and three private buyers.