Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission
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Annual Cross-Island Hike
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Landing at Trade Wind
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Annual Report
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Talk To Us
Land Bank Commissioners
Land Bank Staff
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is there a lien on my property?
I paid a Land Bank fee, can I take a deduction on my tax return?
What happens to the lien if I want to refinance?
How do I obtain public records?

Ice House Pond Open for Swimming: Reservations Only

Ice House Pond will open for swimming, starting on Saturday, 8/1/2020. There will be limited access, and an online reservation system, in order to ensure social distancing among swimmers. All access for swimming reservations will be through the Wintergreen Lane Trailhead off Manaquayak Road; the Trailhead on Lambert’s Cove Road, near Seth’s Pond, will be closed. Parking for access to hiking trails must also use the Wintergreen Lane Trailhead.

Reservations can be made at, by clicking the “Schedule” tab. The pond will be open from Wednesday through Sunday. There are 8, one-hour time slots available: a morning selection from 7am-11am, and an afternoon selection from 2pm-6pm. One person is allowed to reserve a time slot. This individual will represent a “pod” of people--a family or group of friends who all arrive together, and have been cohabitating in the same space. Booking is allowed up to one week in advance, and booking will close for each day at 7am, when the schedule starts. This prevents day-of reservations, allowing our property attendants to have a pre-set list to cross-reference reservations with. 

As with our other properties, we ask that you socially distance and wear a mask when this is not possible.

We appreciate your cooperation as we all try to enjoy the summer, the island, and all it has to offer, while also keeping ourselves safe. 


  • COVID-19 Update:

    Per order of the Governor, the Land Bank offices will now be closed.  We will still be checking our simplifile account regularly. Here is the link ( and will continue to process land bank forms and deeds through that.


    A reminder to the public using land bank properties during this time to practice social distancing, maintaining a    minimum of six feet when in proximity of others, particularly at trailheads, parking areas, and when passing others on the trail. In addition, please make an extra effort to HAVE YOUR DOG ON A LEASH AT ALL TIMES to limit the potential of close contact with others.


          Also all land bank ecology led walks are canceled at this time.


Due to the continuing community-wide efforts to confront COVID-19, the Annual Cross-Island Hike will not occur in  2020.  Nevertheless, people are encouraged to enjoy the public trails across the island on their own.  In addition to the maps of land bank properties found on this site, the TrailsMV app ( from Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation is a very useful in navigating all public trails on Martha’s Vineyard and has many walks from which to select.  Enjoy the outdoors!



Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Home Page


Martha’s Vineyard Island has witnessed unprecedented change in the most recent decades. Farming declined; centuries-old pastures and fields were left to knot into vines and shrubs. The "freedom to roam" was curtailed as fences were erected across trails, beaches were gated off and hunting was restricted.

Few of these problems could be solved by planning boards and conservation commissions only; the Vineyard needed a new type of land agency. In the midst of an upspiraling building boom, island voters created the land bank in 1986 and charged it with reversing their losses.

Nearly thirty years have elapsed and some 3100 acres have now been conserved. Although this sounds impressive, it is actually mighty small: just 5% of the land area on the island. The commission’s revenue – generated by a 2% public surcharge on most real estate transfers occurring in the six towns – is modest compared to need, ensuring that islanders can expect the land bank to protect only a fraction of their community.

And this money must go far. Farmers, hikers, beachcombers, birders, hunters and many, many others are all constituents of the land bank and all deserve to have some land set aside for their special needs.

The land bank’s private-sector counterparts, fortunately, help out. These trusts' extraordinary work in creating wildlife sanctuaries across the Vineyard frees the land bank to pursue a more diverse mission, where some land bank properties are reserved for wildlife while others are used for agriculture, hunting and/or many other types of conservation use.

Balance is key in land bank property management. Environmental protection leads the list of land bank goals with public use encouraged where and when possible. Trails avoid sensitive areas, signs advise of special precautions visitors need take, and attendants are hired when necessary to oversee use.

The land bank is a rare breed. Neither a sanctuary program nor a park system, it is a middle ground where the highest virtues of conservation can be realized: public enjoyment of nature, where limits and restraint secure the natural world’s future and prosperity.

Visiting the Land Bank Properties

Land bank properties are, except during the hunting season, open daily to the general public from sunrise to sundown (see “Hunting Policy and Forms”). Trails are marked throughout and boundary markers indicate where public land ends and private land begins.

The land bank posts map signs at many properties’ trailheads and is installing others where needed. Handheld maps of each property, showing their trail networks and natural features, are available on this website.

Guided walks conducted by the land bank’s scientific and management staff are scheduled regularly in the off-season. The land bank also sponsors a day-long cross-island hike on National Trails Day, which is the first Saturday in June. Watch the island newspapers for details.

Talk to Us

The land bank welcomes public input on all subjects but especially on land acquisition priorities. The first item of business at all land bank commission meetings (which take place most every Monday at 2:00 pm at 167 Main Street in Edgartown) is public input; letters are also accepted. In addition, a public input session is scheduled biennially in September.


Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission
167 Main Street
Post Office Box 2057
Edgartown, Massachusetts 02539