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Almanac Archive for Feb. 9, 2020

Conservation Almanac Special Edition
     Winter Walk: Ancient Ways & General Grey
          Bottle Ban Moves Down-Island
               100% Renewable MV

Sunday: Winter Walking on Tisbury's Ancient Ways
Join your VCS friends on Sunday (Feb. 9) for our next Winter Walk, an exploration of ancient ways and nearby conservation lands that lie between Lambert's Cove and State Road. The walk will set out at 10 am from the Wakeman Center (located on Helen Ave., off Lambert's Cove Road).

Please note that due to the road closure, you will need to take the "lower" entrance to Lambert's Cove Road, i.e. the one closer to Vineyard Haven. 

Ancient Ways & Grey's Raid
In the final days of 2019, the Island received a gift thirty years in the making. Shubael Weeks Road and Red Coat Hill Road were formally designated by the MV Commission under the "Special Ways" District of Critical Planning Concern, ensuring permanent public access to these ancient ways (see Gazette coverage and our testimony in support of the decision). We will walk both paths this Sunday to commemorate the occasion!

These roads, Red Coat Hill in particular, mark the site of our local Revolutionary War history. In September of 1778, British General Sir Charles Grey anchored 47 warships containing 4,333 troops off Vineyard Haven harbor. After bringing his troops ashore, and marching them along an old way running past the residence of local Selectman Shubael Weeks, General Grey seized the high ground west of Tashmoo that would come to be known as "Red Coat Hill."

Should anyone need a reminder of the grim reality of war, one of the men – an English Brigadier, but just a raider as far as the locals were concerned – related that they:

. . . caryed off and destroyed all the corn and Roots two miles around (the) Harbour; Dug up the Ground everywhere to search for goods the people hid; even so Curious were they in searching as to Disturb the ashes of the Dead. (Charles Edward Banks, History of Martha's Vineyard)

Apart from the outright destruction, Grey's Raid expropriated a total of 315 head of cattle, 10,574 sheep, and considerable coin from Martha's Vineyard.

From Chikamaug to Chickammoo, Onkokemmy to Lambert
Similar to the site of our previous Winter Walk, Chappaquonsett, which was given the name Pilot Hill by English settlers (some history here; photos from the walk here), this Sunday's walk will again visit places with both pre- and post-colonial names. The area was known by its native inhabitants as Chikamaug, later anglicized to Chickammoo, an Algonquin reference to weir fishing. Fish trapping was an important activity at what was then a fairly large community on Onkokemmy Bay – which is itself today more commonly known as Lambert's Cove.

For more on the history of the area, Grey's Raid, and beginnings of the effort to protect these ancient ways, see the cover story from our 1989 newsletter.
Photo above: Red Coat Hill Road, by Brendan O'Neill

Plastic Free Kids Take Bottle Ban Down-Island

Last spring, a group of students at the West Tisbury School pulled off an impressive hat trick, winning passage at Town Meetings in Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury for their bylaw to ban many disposable plastic bottles (water and soda bottles of less than 34 ounces). Following through on a commitment made last year, the group known as "Plastic Free MV" is now bringing the bylaw to the rest of the Island. 

Last year's up-Island campaign was not without challenges, and based on our own experience with a ban on plastic bags (see second story here), it seems likely the down-Island towns will have even greater concerns. Plastic Free MV have already presented once before the Selectmen in Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs, and received a generally favorable reception. However, at their Oak Bluffs presentation, Selectmen shared that they have heard considerable pushback from businesses who are "completely unhappy with this conversation."

Before deciding whether to put the article on the warrant for Town Meeting, the Selectmen will hold a public hearing at their regular meeting this Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 4:30 in the Library meeting room. Business owners have been invited to the hearing to voice their concerns; if you are an Oak Bluffs voter who would like a chance to vote on this at Town Meeting, please do come out and voice your support.

100% Renewable MV

Next week, on Weds. Feb 12 at 5:00, Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee Chair Rob Hannemann will give a talk at the Chilmark Library explaining VSEC's ambitious proposal: that by 2040, all the energy consumed on our Island would come from renewable, carbon-free, sources. A resolution to that effect will be up for a vote at Town Meeting in all six Towns, so make sure to catch this presentation to learn exactly what this means for all of us.

For more on the 100% renewable goal, take a listen to this great story produced by WCAI earlier this week, featuring many quotes from our local climate and energy experts (including a very brief recap of the recent presentation by Marc Rosenbaum of South Mountain Co. and the VCS Board). For more energy and climate related events, see the Island Climate Action Network.

Copyright © 2020 Vineyard Conservation Society, All rights reserved.

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