Today the Land Bank acquired 11 acres of pristine land located at 15 Burnt Swamp Lane, a portion of which is protected by a conservation restriction held by the Nantucket Land Council (NLC). The property was purchased from Katherine Roe and John Roe who have a family legacy of conservation on the island. Katherine Roe is the daughter of Carl and Karen Borchert and the sister of Carl Borchert, Jr., an island resident. Carl Sr., an ardent conservationist, helped found the NLC and served on the Land Bank Commission for 8 years (serving as Chair from 1989-90), Conservation Commission for 11 years, and was the President of the NLC for 5 years. Karen filled Carl Sr.’s seat on the NLC board after his passing in 1998 and served for the rest of her life including a five-year period as their President. In addition, John Roe served as Executive Director of the NLC from 1980-1987.
Katherine Roe and Carl Borchert Jr. inherited a love of the outdoors from their parents. In Katherine’s words, “[I] hugely benefitted from a ‘free range’ childhood on Nantucket. My friends and I traveled widely on our ponies, often leaving the house early in the day and returning for dinner. A favorite activity was swimming the horses at Dionis and then taking a dip in Maxcy’s Pond on the way home to rinse the salt off. We explored streams, ponds, fields, and woods.”
Katherine’s brother, Carl Jr., shares similar sentiments: “I had a lot of fun with Dad cutting grass on the fields with a sickle bar mower…I have always thought that [our] land is an enchanting group of walking trails. I like the apple tree adjacent to the riding ring over there and I have been 20 feet from a buck deer on occasion.”
Walking around the property today, it’s no wonder that Katherine and Carl Jr. speak so fondly of their childhood. The trails that their family maintained are lined with wildflowers, and there’s a variety of open fields and shaded forest that you could get lost in for hours. Their parents’ legacy is memorialized by a monument right in front of one of the many pine trees on the parcel.
When asked about her decision to sell to the Land Bank, Katherine remarks, “watching these places become inaccessible since [my childhood] due to development reinforced my interest in selling [15 Burnt Swamp Lane] to the Land Bank. I hope that Land Bank properties will always provide children the chance to explore the Island’s unspoiled natural environment, for that is where childhood wonder instills a life-long appreciation of the natural world.”
The Land Bank is grateful for the opportunity to become the next steward of this parcel. We look forward to further establishing the trail networks already put in place by the family (and freshly mowed!) and opening this space to the public to enjoy. We encourage Nantucketers to use this land just as the Borcherts have for years: bring your families, walk the trails, and enjoy the natural beauty that is Nantucket.