In 1917, one Warren P. Rickard of Plymouth granted to “the Inhabitants of Plymouth County” a “certain parcel of wood-land lying Southwesterly from Warren Wells Brook…contain 103 acres and 20 rods….” Woodlot_Deed_This parcel is what we today call “the County Woodlot”. Beginning in 1917, and continuing to the present, the public has used the Woodlot for many purposes. “For centuries the property was maintained as a traditional wood lot, a source of wood for fuel, posts and, going back centuries, materials such as pitch and charcoal.”*
To this day, hunters, birdwatchers and others uses the site.
The 1917 deed proved for an easement to Plymouth Electric Light Company that had been granted in 1914 “to maintain a line of poles.” Today, due to the County’s negligence, that easement is overrun and expanded far beyond its original purpose. Unauthorized ATVs and dirt bikes have created dangerous cliffs, caused erosion, and destroyed habitat.
Starting in about 2008, the County began to look at the real estate it owned as sources of revenue to cover budget shortfalls. It proposed an “energy wonderland”* for the Woodlot, erected a cell tower that it rents to Entergy, and started using the site for fire and rescue training. The rescue training facility has turned into a dumping ground and junk yard for used firetrucks and cars.
In 2010, County Commissioner Pallotta said, “The key to our financial future is gravel. It’s cash and carry,” referring to mining the Wood Lot. http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/x1409378993/Sale-of-county-land-on-Long-Pond-Road-still-in-limbo
In 2010, the County contracted with Brad Cushing of Kingstown Trucking (sister company to Plymouth Sand and Gravel) allowing him to mine 250,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel off the County Wood Lot. CountyContractWithCushing2010 Cushing paid the County $345,000.00 for the contract.
In 2014, Cushing/Kingstown Trucking asked the ZBA for a special permit to mine the 250,000 cubic yards off the Wood Lot but the ZBA said no. Cushing then sued the Town, which entered in to a compromise, resulting in a new permit in 2015. That permit was challenged in Court. The case was dismissed on “standing” and the Court never decided whether the permit itself was legal. More information is on the Town Mining Permit section of this site.