To appreciate the importance of this 29.5-acre refuge, walk out to the end of the viewing platform and look across Shank Painter Pond. Even in summer, a heavy tree cover cannot fully disguise the density of development along the pond’s southern shore. “In 1975, 1986 and later in 1995, the town’s open-space plan rated this area as the town’s top priority for protection,” the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts said of Shank Painter Pond. “In spite of these declarations, exorbitant land prices and public sentiment against eminent domain land takings kept its acquisition for conservation out of reach.” What led to the creation of this sanctuary was one of the boldest development plans to date. In 1995, the Patrick family (of Marine Specialties renown), proposed a 19-lot subdivision on property along the north shore that they had owned since the 1970s.
Two years of hearings, re-submissions and negotiation yielded a plan for a five-lot subdivision on the Patricks’ seven-and-a-half-acre lot at 185 Route 6, with the approval of the Cape Cod Commission, Provincetown Conservation Commission and Provincetown Planning Board. In 1998, however, money became available for the acquisition of open space under the Cape Cod Land Bank legislation and the April 1999 Town Meeting approved borrowing up to $1.6 million to acquire the lot. At the same time, the Patricks donated a 22-acre wetland parcel at 179 Route 6 — much of it a rare “quaking bog” — to the Provincetown Conservation Trust.
Together, the trust’s parcel at No. 179 and the town-owned parcel at No. 185 compose the sanctuary, which was formally designated in 2001. • Map, No. 179 • Map, No. 185 • Assessor’s Online Database PDF, No. 179 • Assessor’s Online Database, No. 185 ¶ Posted 2013-08-17