The Wells Land Bank is an important conservation measure. Funds from the Bank are used to purchase lands with the purpose of preserving them as open space, including endangered landscapes. This ensures that important habitats and land resources are available for use by the general public.
The Land Bank is a reserve account established by the WCC to purchase ecologically significant undeveloped property in order to preserve wildlife habitat and traditional outdoor recreation, and provide sites for environmental education. The stimulus for its establishment came in 1983 with a gift of fifty-two undeveloped, habitat-rich acres deeded by a local landowner Maurice Fenderson to the Town as “a natural habitat for wild birds and animals.” After receiving the gift, the Commission proposed to create the Land Bank as a Reserve account, and in 1985 persuaded the Selectmen to place a fundraising item on the Warrant for the Town Meeting, which was approved. In subsequent years, the Commission continued to do so (although some years the sitting Board of Selectmen refused to enter it on the warrant), and the sum gradually rose from $500 to $1000 to $50,000 to $70,000, the current annual allocation.
Since the inception of the Land Bank, the Commission has received numerous donations of land, raised funds from grants for management and acquisition, and raised $81,000 to match a challenge grant. With Land Bank funds the Town has purchased several parcels. Currently, along with numerous smaller holdings, the Town owns two large unfragmented areas, each approximately 700 acres. Adding abutting lands managed by owners in concert with the Conservation Lands, each area reaches over a thousand acres. Currently the Land Bank holds a significant balance, and is able to negotiate with landowners for purchase of several large parcels.