Things have moved remarkably swiftly since the logjam with the Wareham Selectmen gave way last Tuesday, and all 5 of them gave their unanimous endorsement of our Conservation Restriction. This morning my Uncle Rob learned that all was ready for closing, and this afternoon the papers passed and so at long last our hopes have been realized. After two years of active negotiation - and several more before that building consensus among ourselves, the extended Barker family has successfully sold a conservation restriction over 19.55 acres of woodland (a purchase authorized not once but twice by the Town voters from Wareham's Community Preservation Act funds). The restriction is co-held by the Town of Wareham, Massachusetts and Wareham Land Trust and is the first of what we all hope and expect will be numerous conservation restrictions to go in place across Great Neck as our neighbors and their conservation partners work to conserve not only their own lands but a significant portion of the large Sacred Hearts property adjacent to ours as well.
I am tremendously proud of this family. It is an extraodinary achievement, not only because saving family land is inherently challenging, but also because this process has made our close family even stronger. Its willingness to look hard at our relationships to this place, to each other, and to the best way to honor my grandparents vision while providing the next generations with a way to keep it has been the key to our success. Saving family land is meaningless if you lose the family, and I am deeply grateful to each and every one of them for their care and commitment.
While we had the benefit of an excellent local lawyer, a surveyor and an appraiser along the way, in addition to that we had a superb family negotiating team. My Uncle John who himself is a skilled attorney was a very careful reviewer, especially when we had the Town's lawyer, the State's reviewer, the Land Trust and our family all tweaking the language of our agreement practically in real time. My Uncle Rob was a tireless representative of our family's interests at interminable town meetings as well as in the regular flurries of e-mail negotiations that at times occupied as much of our time as our regular jobs. His appreciation for the nature of Town government and fervent belief that what seemed like insurmountable obstacles might become mere setbacks were a tremendous help to us. Both Rob and John's time and talent were critical to our success and I am deeply grateful to both of them for their love and support.
We made a great team, and the ability to work so well together across generations was an added pleasure. This was no simple task, and there were many (many) convolutions along that way, but the outcome tonight is very close to the one envisioned at the outset, and one which I know would make my Gran and Grandpop very proud.
For me personally, it is profoundly meaningful to have been able to place my professional skills in service of this great family and its wonderful conservation accomplishment. I know, too, that there is no greater contribution I could make than to help us save Windrock. Knowing that my children and their children can look forward to knowing this place and finding their place in the ever growing family that revolves around its center is a source of deep joy and satisfaction.