Celebration Marks Protection of North of Highland Campground

July 13, 2010

Mrs. Victoria Reggie Kennedy and U.S. Representative Bill Delahunt joined The Trust for Public Land, The National Park Service, the Truro Conservation Trust and other supporters to celebrate the protection of the North of Highland Camping Area-a popular destination for Cape Cod National Seashore visitors.

Protection of the campground was a long-standing priority for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, who led the efforts to secure funding for the project through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). A sign was unveiled at the ceremony to commemorate Senator Kennedy's leadership and to recognize the efforts of the many others who helped to protect the campground for generations to come.

"Ted believed deeply in this project to preserve the campgrounds. He loved Cape Cod and believed that everyone should be able to enjoy its extraordinary beauty. He was honored to work with John Kerry, Bill Delahunt, the Park Service, The Trust for Public Land, the wonderful Currier family, and others to protect and preserve this critical part of the National Seashore," said Victoria Reggie Kennedy. "Through the hard work and commitment of so many, today we're adding to the legacy of the National Seashore and ensuring that generations to come have the same chance to experience the natural beauty of Cape Cod."

"I have found this campground to be one of the most pristine and scenic areas on Cape Cod, and today's announcement is a tribute to the hard work of Senator Kennedy who made protecting it for future generations a top priority," said U.S. Rep. Delahunt (D-10th). "I have long been a strong supporter of its conservation because all throughout our region, campers and those who love the outdoors are losing access to campsites like this where families can visit and vacation together. Without the efforts of the Seashore, the Currier family, The Trust for Public Land, and local residents this project could not have come to fruition."

The 57-acre North of Highland campground has been family owned and managed since 1954 as an affordable, family-oriented tent camping operation. It has also been the largest remaining inholding within the 43,000-acre Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS).

In 2005, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, worked with the Currier family to ensure the property will never be sold for residential development. The Currier family will retain ownership of the property, subject to a conservation easement managed by the National Park Service, and will allow future generations of their family to continue to operate the campground.

"Cape Cod National Seashore is a national treasure, and North of Highland Campground is a great way to experience the Seashore and it is a source of local pride," said Whitney Hatch, TPL's Massachusetts state director. "TPL is proud to have worked with the Currier family and the Park Service to permanently protect the campground, and we are grateful to the Massachusetts delegation and the town and residents of Truro."

For the last three years, TPL and its partners, led a grassroots campaign to support the funding for the purchase price of the conservation easement from the LWCF, secured by U.S. Senator John Kerry, Rep. Delahunt, and former Sen. Ted Kennedy. The LWCF uses revenues generated from offshore oil and gas drilling leases to acquire critical new lands. Efforts are underway in Congress to permanently fund the program at its fully authorized annual level of $900 million.

Sen. Kerry was unable to attend the event but sent a representative to say a few words on his behalf. "This designation is another step to protect the Cape's natural beauty from development," said Sen. Kerry. "Senator Kennedy held this project near and dear to his heart and I'm sure he's smiling down on us today, knowing that another part of the region he loved so much is permanently protected."

The CCNS, with its 40 miles of coastline, is one of the National Park Service's most visited destinations, attracting more than 4 million visitors annually. The North of Highland Camping Area offers 237 tent campsites with direct footpath access to Head of the Meadow Beach and also connects to a network of CCNS hiking and biking trails. The 57-acre woodlands and wetlands provide habitat for a rare and endangered species as well as safeguards local drinking water supplies.

"The long-term protection of this large parcel for a combination of camping and conservation purposes made this our highest priority acquisition," said CCNS Superintendent George Price. "We appreciate the steadfast perseverance and persistence of Mr. Currier, the staff of The Trust for Public Land, Congressman Delahunt, Senator Kerry, and the late Senator Kennedy in ensuring that this significant easement came to fruition."

"We have operated the campground for 55 years as a family, and are very pleased this is the way it will stay," said North of Highlands Camping Area owner Steve Currier. "Many of our customers, some are fourth generation campers, have been concerned something else would happen that would end their camping at North of Highland. It is great that many of the families who love to camp at North of Highland are here to celebrate with us today."

"Everyone wins with this project. We have preserved an amazing Truro and Seashore property for the use it has enjoyed for decades and we have enabled a small family-owned and operated business to continue and to profit from hard work," said Fred Gaechter, president of the Truro Conservation Trust. "We in Truro particularly thank the Currier family, The Trust for Public Land, the National Park Service, the late-Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Representative Delahunt, and the myriad of Truro citizens who worked for years to make this happen."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is the premier federal program to conserve lands throughout the nation. The LWCF is a critical tool to acquire inholdings, expansions of public lands, and new federal designations throughout the national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, wild and scenic river corridors, national scenic and historic trails, the Bureau of Land Management lands and other federal areas. A bill called The Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009, (S. 2747), has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would guarantee dedicated funding to the under funded program. Efforts are now underway in Congress to fully fund the program.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres of land nationwide, including nearly 13,000 acres in Massachusetts. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.