Located in Halifax and Hanson, the Burrage Pond Wildlife Refuge is composed of 1,638 acres from the original Northland Cranberries parcel purchased in 2002 and other parcels purchased by the Commonwealth since that time.
On the Access Point in Halifax
In 2002, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased a large parcel of land owned by the Northlands Cranberry Company that straddled the border between Hanson and Halifax. The two towns contended that state law required that "rollback taxes" be paid to the two towns as the property was being taken out of agricultural use (many pieces of property in agricultural use receive significant reductions in property taxes; in many circumstances, if a property is taken out of agricultural use, the property owner is assessed property taxes for past years based on the "full and fair use" of the property without the agricultural exemption).
The State disagreed with the two towns but reached a settlement with each community which included a cash payment and a transfer of land. The transfer of the land to Halifax never occurred. In 2012, legislation was filed and approved for the land transfer. The necessary steps for the transfer included a survey of the property which the DEP recently completed. The parcel was transferred to the Town in 2015.
Since 2002, the Department of Environmental Management/Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has operated the Burrage Pond Wildlife Refuge (the former Northlands property) and has included two major access points, one on Hawks Avenue in Hanson and one off of Elm Street in Halifax. The survey work included a survey of the access point in Halifax. That survey showed that a significant portion of the access point was owned by private landowners, not the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Once that was determined, the owners indicated that they did not want the public to access the Burrage Pond Wildlife Refuge using their property and they were within their rights to block the access on their property.
The Commonwealth has determined that the best option to establish a new access point is to use its own land, a little bit away from the old access point. It will need to appropriate money for this project, hire an engineering firm and then a firm to build the new access. The Town does not play a role in this and the timetable for this work is uncertain.
For the time being, however, the only major access point to the Wildlife Refuge is via the Hawks Avenue access point in Hanson.
Charlie Seelig, Town Administrator, July 1, 2016
On Dogs at Burrage Pond
In regards to dogs, dogs must be restrained (by leash/chain or strict voice control) and all dog waste is to be removed from all areas (particularly from roads, trails and trail edges) for people to be in compliance with several laws/regulations that might apply. There are several laws and regulations that apply:
These have to do with dogs that are not controlled and the potential for them to run/harm/harass deer.
Please see section 3.01(1)(e) regarding dumping or discarding trash/waste.....this would include dog waste)
There are exemptions for the use of hunting dogs for training, field trials and hunting purposes.