Andrews Woods is owned by the Town of Rockport. It is "tax title" land, acquired by the town in 1963 for nonpayment of taxes by the estate of Maria Phillips. The land is currently under the control of the Select Board and the town's Tax Title Commissioner. Under Massachusetts G.L. Ch. 40 Sec. 15A, the "care, custody, management and control" of such land may be transferred to the town's Conservation Commission by a two-thirds vote of town meeting, provided the Select Board votes to agree to the transfer. Similarly, the Select Board can sell the land for development if a two-thirds vote of town meeting agrees.
Here are some things you can do to help conserve the woods.
- Visit the woods and enjoy them! By using the woods for hiking, biking, dog walking, and recreation, you help to maintain the trails as established rights of way.
- Tell your friends and neighbors. Community support and involvement, beginning with public awareness, is essential to moving the woods towards conservation status.
- Explore the woods with children. Conservation is about preserving the woods for future generations, and notions of a shared environment and its stewardship can be passed along by playing and exploring.
- Help to maintain the trails. This can be as simple as carrying a pocket clipper along on your walks, and trimming back cat briar from the trails. You can also help to rake trails in the fall, and keep trail markers in place so that trails are easy to find in all seasons. Otherwise, join us each spring for the annual Earth Day clean-up and picnic.
- Join Friends of Andrews Woods, the neighborhood and community organization working to conserve the woods. Memebership is without obligation, and you'll be kept informed of activities and town business related to the woods.
- Talk with members of town government, and express your support for conserving the woods. Relevant committees include the Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Rights of Way Committee, and the Select Board. All committes set aside time for public comment during their meetings.
- Become more involved. Rockport is a small town; whether it's voting at town meeting or taking an active role with town committees, you can make a difference.