Acquired by the Town of Provincetown in 1996 with a Conservation Restriction granted to the Provincetown Conservation Trust. The original owner was Eliphalet J. Foss, a Boston based painter and photographer of natural history. He bought the 137 acres in 1898 and in 1911 built a small summer home (Foss camp).
Most of the parcel that stretched from the Bay to the Atlantic Ocean was subsumed, as others like it, by the Railroad, Route Six, and the National Seashore. Some of the Bayside land was sold for building lots to pay taxes during the 1980’s and 1990’s. There was a 23 lot subdivision envisioned for the rest of the parcel in 1993 prior to the purchase by the Town.
The 14.87 acres includes along its eastern edge half of a one acre red maple/tupelo swamp. This was formed in a blowout depression in the old dunes. It has saturated soil owing to its intersection with the water table. Foss Woods is comprised mostly of the back slope of an old 60 ft high dune running along its southern edge. The oldest pines are about 50 years old (about two feet in diameter at breast height). An old cart path runs from behind the Harbor Hotel to the old railroad bed and out to Snail Rd.