The Barnes Wildlife Sanctuary was acquired in 2003 by the Town of Cohasset from the Barnes family in a unique partnership: MBTA mitigation money incidental to renewing the commuter railroad right of way; a Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Management Self-Help grant; the Cohasset Water Department; public donations; and the Trust which, in addition to contributing funding, matched public contributions dollar for dollar. The acquisition of the Barnes Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a textbook case of town-wide collaboration.
While the Town of Cohasset owns the 32 acre property, the Trust holds the Conservation Restriction.
Together with Wheelright Park, the Cohasset Boy Scout Troop 28 retreat, and the the partially restricted privately-owned White family/Holly Hill Farm property, the Barnes Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral part of a 230 acre rare deep-forest core-habitat stretching from Jerusalem Road to Sohier Street and from Little Harbor to the western side of Forest Avenue.
The Sanctuary land is characterized by irregular steeply-sloping ledge outcrops with elevations ranging from 63′ to 199′. Wetlands are drained by intermittent streams that discharge into Little Harbor. The forests of the Sanctuary support wildlife and 19 species of birds including 9 migrant species. The watersheds, including vernal pools, provide habitat for amphibians and invertebrates.
An ice skating pond, built by President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA in 1935 and listed in The Historical Index Survey of Architectural and Historical Assets of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, straddles the boundary between the Sanctuary and Wheelright Park. The ice skating pond was restored in 2002 as part of an Eagle Scout project.
Click here to view the EOEEA’s ‘Environmental Profile‘
Click here for a full-size version of the Wheelwright Park & Barnes Wildlife Sanctuary Map. Pocket-size maps are available from Cohasset Boy Scout Troop 28