Sheriff’s Meadow Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary grows with 31-acre donation

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Cedar Tree Neck overlooks Vineyard Sound. -file photo by Susie Safford

As 2014 came to a close, on Dec. 29 the Hough family donated 31.4 acres of land to the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation (SMF). The property lies in the middle of the Foundation’s popular Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary in West Tisbury, and has been named the George A. Hough Preserve, according to a press release.

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Island’s largest private nonprofit land conservation organization, and the Hough family are intimately connected.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, George A. Hough, the father of Henry Beetle Hough and George A. Hough Jr., acquired more than 93 acres of land in the Indian Hill section of West Tisbury. In 1959, Henry Beetle Hough, former owner of the Vineyard Gazette, made the first donation of land to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation at what was to become Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary.

The co-owned 62-acre Fishhook portion of Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary was given to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation by Henry Beetle Hough by deed in 1967 and by George A. Hough Jr. by will in 1976.

With this latest donation, in total the Hough family has given 93.4 acres of land at Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, “a remarkable legacy of conservation,” said SMF executive director Adam Moore.

The George A. Hough Preserve includes forests of oak and American beech, cranberry bogs, glacial erratic boulders, lichen-encrusted stone walls and many other features. “The George A. Hough Preserve is significant because it connects the land given to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation by Georgina Stevenson, Warren Pyle, and Lucy Donnelly at the top of Indian Hill Road to the Fishhook portion of Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary to the north,” Mr. Moore said. “A trail will be blazed to stitch these properties together.”

The Hough donation brings to 391.4 the total number of acres owned by Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation at Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary.

“For this most generous gift of land, the Foundation expresses its sincere gratitude and appreciation to George A. Hough III of West Tisbury, Mary Pat Hough-Greene of New Freedom, Pa., John Hough Jr. of West Tisbury, Mary Louise Hough of Orono, Maine, Julia Hough of Weehawken, N.J., Margaret Hough Russell of Northampton, and William H. Hough of Falmouth,” Mr. Moore said in a press release. “Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation also acknowledges the Hough family, including John T. Hough, for the 1992 donation of the conservation restriction over the same property, and Jay Russell for his role in conserving this land.”

The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation owns 2,035 acres and holds conservation restrictions over an additional 823 acres. For more information, go to sheriffsmeadow.org.