Rob Hancock, president of the board of directors of Save Bristol Harbor, a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to repairing the coastal waters of Bristol, doesn’t see a time when the organization won’t be needed.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“It’s not to say we are always going to have problems,” Hancock said. “Our environment and ecology around us are constantly evolving and changing over time and that’s OK. That’s what it does. There will always be an important need to adapt to that change and there’s always going to be a need to connect people to their environment. We’re planning on being around and continuing to do those things.”
The nonprofit was created almost 16 years ago, largely, Hancock said, to bring organized opposition to Cumberland Farms’ plan to develop a gas station and convenience store next to Silver Creek, a salt marsh estuary that flows into Bristol Harbor.
A public-awareness campaign by the next year resulted in Bristol buying out Cumberland Farms’ existing lease on the land and Silver Creek once again became a public space.
Several years later, citizens once again rallied to convince a marina not to expand but to build harbor improvements that would, according to Save Bristol Harbor’s website, benefit public access to the harbor and recreational boaters. A few years after that, the need for a more permanent, organized group dedicated to counteracting developments that could harm Silver Creek and Bristol Harbor led to Save Bristol Harbor being founded in 2005.
“Instead of going in the wrong direction, Silver Creek is now on the road to restoration,” said Hancock, who has been on the board of directors for five years.