Osprey Marsh Gifted to SLT

The Sippican Lands Trust is excited to announce the recent acquisition of “Osprey Marsh,” a spectacular 19.8 acre waterfront property that was recently given as a gift by the Howland family of Marion in early 2014. Thanks to the family’s generosity, the SLT now owns 28.7 contiguous waterfront acres off of Point Road in Marion. Our 8.9 acre property, “Howland Marsh,” which was acquired by the trust from the family in 1995 and together with “Osprey Marsh” constitutes a quarter mile of protected shoreline in Planting Island Cove.

Mary Howland Smoyer, along with her three siblings, Meg, Edward and George, spearheaded the effort to make this gift a possibility. The Howland family has a long and meaningful history of land ownership in Marion. Presenting the gift, Mary said, “Osprey Marsh is land that we four inherited from our grandparents, Edward and Eleanor Howland. Eleanor first came to Marion as a child, and later, settled here year round with Edward in 1930. Eleanor, in particular, taught us a love of nature; especially birds, shells, ocean creatures, and wildflowers, the tupelo and the eel grass, lady slippers and ferns, the horseshoe crab and the wentletrap, the hummingbird and the blue heron, the Atlantic white cedar and the great osprey. This gift honors our grandparents’ legacy and follows their intent. Eleanor left written instructions that at any time, the property could be transferred for the benefit of the town and its inhabitants or to an educational or wildlife organization, to do so.” Continuing the Howland legacy, Mary feels strongly that this combination wetland and upland parcel remain untouched in its natural state and be made available to the public for recreational and educational purposes through the SLT.

As part of the terms of the gift, the Sippican Lands Trust is working on the property to ready its use by the public in late summer. There will soon be an off-street parking area, a kiosk and property marker, and a beginning trail down through the upland to a water vista on the shoreline. Planning is in the works for a future, developed trail system through the property with the goal to connect “Osprey Marsh” with “Howland Marsh” next door. The hope is to have an extensive boardwalk system through the wetland areas with viewing platforms at key intervals. Current recreational maps with informative historic and environmental information using the latest technology are also an intention. The SLT is also hoping to erect at least one osprey nest, although the appropriate research for this, and all other listed elements, needs to be done before its installation.

The Sippican Lands Trust is deeply thankful to the Howland family, and especially Mary, for this amazing gift to the trust and to the public. Please stay tuned as the opening day nears and as all future plans unfold.

Please do not hesitate to contact SLT Executive Director Robin Shields at 508-748-3080 or online at robinshields@sippicanlandstrust.org if you have any questions.

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