Every year, hundreds of boys and girls from Lynn and Middleton get the chance to swim, paddle, and play their way through summer at the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn’s Camp Creighton. Now the 121-acre property will be protected in perpetuity, thanks to a conservation restriction on the land purchased by the Essex County Greenbelt Association.
“The club will be able to preserve the beautiful conservation land and pond that surrounds the summer camp,” says Brian Theirrien, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn. “This partnership will protect and support the [Creighton family’s] wishes to provide a forever summer camp site for youth from surrounding towns and from the [club].”
Businessman Albert Creighton and his wife Margaret donated the property to the club in 1959. It is an ecological rich stretch of land, nestled between Harold Parker State Forest and Boxford State Forest. Acting as a natural buffer, the land protects water quality in Boston Brook and the Ipswich River, and helps safeguard the habitat of rare species like the blue-spotted salamander.
In the 1960s, the land became home to Camp Creighton, also known as Creighton Pond Day Camp. Today, the camp runs for eight weeks each summer, serving children from ages 6 to 14. The facilities include the pond, a pool, hiking trails, athletic fields, picnic areas, arts and crafts space, and a central lodge. Each one-week session features a theme; this year’s themes have included exploring art, Olympics, and “mad science” week.
The Boys & Girls Club of Lynn and the Greenbelt organization have been working together for years to protect the property. This year, these efforts finally paid off, with the club receiving $2.7 million for a conservation restriction, an agreement that ensures the land is conserved permanently. The money includes $559,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, a sizable donation from the Creighton family, and public and private donations collected by Greenbelt. While the club still owns the property, it is now prohibited from developing the land or harming the ecosystems present there.
Greenbelt and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will work together to monitor and enforce the conservation restriction. And Greenbelt plans to help the club make the property even better, partnering on future trail projects and enhancements that will improve both environmental protection and kids’ access to the land.