The 338 acre reservation is owned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. An educational poster at the park entrance describes the reservation as a habitat for common and rare resident and migratory bird species. The land includes salt marshes, brackish ponds, mud flats, rocky headlands, wetlands, hardwood forests and sandy beaches. In 1996, five acres of the land was set aside for a state of the art tertiary leaching area for the treatment plant to address the island's waste water issues. The land was acquired in 1988, from Realty Transfer of New Jersey for $1.6 million.
The West Island State SOUTH POINT ALMANACeservation is under jurisdiction of the
Massachusetts Environmental Police
East side of reservation looking west towards the causeway
THE BIRDS OF WEST ISLAND
|New England Seabirds and Pelagic Birding|
Natural history of seabirds, where and how to find them in New England. Includes: Stellwagen Bank, Jeffreys Ledge, Great So Channel, Nantucket Shoals. breeding colonies in Maine and eastern Canada, pelagic trips. Whale and Dolphins: Noncommercial site with no advertising. http://www.neseabirds.com
MAIN TRAILS DISPLAYED-Parking permitted along Fir Street Entrance
Save West Island
The so called “Massachusetts Miracle “ that Presidential candidate Governor Michael Dukakis, heralded to the media, was quickly fleeting. The timing was disastrous for our endeavor. Without the state to back us up with funding to purchase the property from Realty Transfer of New Jersey, the destruction of more than half of the island to development was at a threshold.
The clock was indeed ticking against our favor. Negative elements said it couldn’t be done and that our group was pissing in the wind. We were laughed at as a bunch of tree hugging political fanatics. But our resolve never faltered, if anything, it became even stronger.
SAVE WEST ISLAND REMEMBERED in recent meeting (enter above)
Save West Island bumper stickers were seen as far away as Worcester. We couldn’t keep up with the demand for T-shirts and promotional videos.
After almost two years of lobbying, fund raising and hard work by our group, it became “politically correct” for those who hesitated to finally join in and support our cause. A long awaited urgent message was received.
In December of 1988 the Save West Island newsletter announced that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has concluded an agreement for the purchase and acquisition of over 338 acres of pristine wetlands and forestry of West Island for 1.6 million dollars. It was one of the largest conservation land acquisitions in the region’s history since the days of the pilgrims. Tears of joy, disbelief, and relief befell the membership at the final meeting of Save West Island Inc. at the Fairhaven Town Hall.
Today the land is known as The West Island State Reservation dedicated to my late dear friend and compatriot David L. Szeliga.
Dave Szeliga was well known for the breeding of Golden Retrievers. He had customers from all over the country with his business "Fairlane Golden Retrievers". Dave would often bring his pups to local elderly homes for what he called "pet therapy" , much to the enjoyment of the residents. His assistant was his son, Ross. He was also an avid fisherman in local fresh water streams. (Photo courtesy Maryanne Regan, Dave's sister.)
The island reservation is a habitat for common,rare, resident and migratory birds.
Save West Island Inc. received the distinguished
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