Reports, Plans & Documents

The following information are open space related reports, plans, and documents pertaining to the value, importance, and priorities of open space land protection in Ipswich:

Open Space Land Acquisition


  • The Land Acquisition Policy was adopted in 2001 to guide the process for acquiring land through the Open Space Bond Authorization

Natural Resource Reports

Land Management Plans

Open Space and Recreation Plan

  • Together with the Open Space Committee, the Open Space Program submitted it's 2020 Open Space and Recreation Plan to the State Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and final approval has been granted. This Plan is the seventh prepared by the Town's Open Space Committee, and is viewable by clicking the link below. The Plan details the Town's objectives for the period between 2020 to 2027, and is a critical guidance document for the Town to use on important conservation and recreation decisions over the next seven years. The Open Space Program together with the Open Space Committee, will begin the next round of revisions to the Town's Open Space and Recreation Plan in 2026 in preparation for submission to the State as required every seven years. The 2020 Plan highlights accomplishments the Town has achieved since the 2013 Plan (also viewable below), while exploring critical needs and emerging challenges that our community faces now and in the future specific to open space conservation and recreation. The 2020 Plan has relied on the collaboration of officials, boards, and individuals to identify and implement actions addressing community needs. Efforts started during the 1980s by forward-thinking citizens on behalf of open space and recreation in Ipswich continue to be a work in progress.
  • 2020 Open Space and Recreation Plan
  • 2013 Open Space and Recreation Plan

Report of the Bond Steering Committee

  • The Town Manager established the temporary ad hoc Open Space Bond Steering Committee on May 16, 2000 to develop and recommend a process for carrying out the Bond Authorization’s objectives. The Committee, comprised of residents and land conservation professionals, met weekly for 4 months. The tasks of the Committee included the establishment of procedures, delineation of responsibilities, and review of criteria and a method for evaluating and ranking the priority parcels. The Committee prepared the Report of the Bond Steering Committee in a format that will enable the Board of Selectmen to adopt the recommended procedures and policies as the Open Space Bond Program for the town.

Economic Benefits of Open Space

  • According to the 2013 report published by the Trust for Public Land, for every $1 Massachusetts spends on land conservation $4 is returned, and jobs are supported for hundreds of thousands of people. According to the report, between 1998 and 2011 Massachusetts protected 131,000 acres of parks, beaches, wetlands, natural areas, working farms and forests. In addition, protected lands support jobs in a range of businesses, including tourism and outdoor recreation, agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing.The Town of Ipswich has proactively led the charge in land protection through its Open Space Program, which was established after Town Meeting approved the Open Space Bond Authorization in 2000. The town is not only invested in the health and well-being of the community by leasing land to local farmers for agricultural; conserving land for drinking water supply protection; creating and maintaining trails and parkland for recreation; and protecting vital coastal habitat, it is also striving to keep the economy of Ipswich strong. And the town has collaborated on these land protection projects with partners at the local, state and federal levels in an effort to leverage it's investments.
  • In addition to the benefits of economic return through jobs and recreational tourism from investment in conservation land, a study from 2020 from the National Wildlife Federation called The Protective Value of Nature, addresses the value of nature based solutions on infrastructure as opposed to more traditional "gray infrastructure". Both locally and globally we are experiencing increasingly numerous and devastating natural disasters directly linked to climate change and sea level rise. As the report lays out, gray infrastructure requires costs related to engineering, installation, maintenance, upkeep and replacement, and are more vulnerable to damage in a natural disaster, and  more costly to replace compared to natural solutions for infrastructure, which can often withstand and recover from natural disasters more effectively. The report is another example of why investing in conservation land and natural resource protection is cost effective in the long run, and provides co-benefits including social, economic and health, to local communities such as Ipswich.