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Kennedy Widow Celebrates Campground’s Future

July 14, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Four years ago, the hope of forever preserving the North of Highland Camping Area — the  largest private tract in the Cape Cod National Seashore — gleamed in the eyes of Sen.  Edward M. Kennedy and William Delahunt, D-Mass.,  as they sat in folding chairs in  the  North Truro woods.

Tuesday (July 13), that vision was fulfilled, the Cape Cod Times reported.

With Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and Delahunt present, leaders of The Trust for Public Land and the Seashore announced a $2.4 million deal allowing the campground’s owner, a trust associated with North Truro summer resident Steve Currier, to keep the 57 acres linked to the Currier family with a permanent land-use restriction on the land as a campground.

The deal has cut off any sale of the Head of Meadow Road land for housing development, which would have been allowed under Truro zoning bylaws, Seashore planner Lauren McKean said yesterday.

The assessed value of the campground is $2.8 million, according to town records.

The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation group, worked with Currier and the National Park Service to obtain the $2.4 million from a federal land agency to pay Currier for agreeing to restrict use of the land forever. The Seashore will hold and manage the conservation easement over the campground’s 57 acres.

Conservation easements are voluntary, legally binding agreements with private landowners that limit some uses or developments on properties, while protecting the ecological or open-space attributes of the land.

For Truro, the preservation of the campground is also good economics. It provides a place for families, even with lower budgets, to summer on the Outer Cape. It allows a Truro business to thrive. And it encourages more summertime spending by campers, town officials said yesterday.

The ceremony seemed tender and momentous for Steve Currier. He sat next to Delahunt, Kennedy and Currier’s mother, Evelyn, who opened the campground with her husband, Malcolm, in 1954. “It’s an honor,” Currier said to the crowd. “It’s just overwhelming that the federal government took an interest in this little business.”

“How Teddy would have loved this,” Kennedy said in her opening remarks, referring to her late husband, who died last summer after serving four decades in the U.S. Senate.

Then her speech turned to Currier. “He was so impressed with your dedication,” Kennedy said. Currier took a deep breath, then another one. He put his hand on the back of his mother’s chair. When Kennedy finished speaking, she walked to Currier, clasped both his hands and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

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