This page provides current and archived news stories along with accompanying photos and maps for members of the news media to download and publish. It also offers background information on Coastal Mountains Land Trust. If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us.
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News Stories 2013 - 2014
Raffle results are in! (6/5/14)
PHOTO: Passy Rail Trail receives support from Bangor Savings Bank Foundation (3/6/14)
Land Trust announces next Executive Director (10/25/13)
(Camden, ME)--Coastal Mountains Land Trust has achieved renewed land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.
"Accreditation has kept us focused on quality throughout our organization and has set a high standard for accountability to landowners, donors, volunteers, and our greater community," said Doug Sensenig, Land Trust Executive Director. "There is no doubt that the anticipation of re-accreditation kept us on our toes, which is where we want to be."
Since its formation in 1986, Coastal Mountains Land Trust has permanently protected almost 10,000 acres throughout the western Penobscot Bay region, including such community gems as Rockport's Beech Hill, Bald and Ragged Mountains in the Camden Hills, the Ducktrap River, and the Passagassawakeag Greenway in Belfast.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust was awarded renewed accreditation this August and is one of only 280 land trusts from across the country that are now accredited. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
'Coastal Mountains Land Trust is one of the first land trusts to achieve renewed accreditation, a significant achievement for the land trust and significant major milestone for the accreditation program. They are an important member of the 280 accredited land trusts that protect more than half of the 20,645,165 acres currently owned in fee or protected by a conservation easement held by a land trust," said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. "Accreditation renewal, which must be completed every five years, provides the public with an assurance that accredited land trusts continue to meet exceedingly high standards for quality."
Each land trust that achieved renewed accreditation submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. "Through accreditation renewal land trusts are part of an important evaluation and improvement process that verifies their operations continue to be effective, strategic and in accordance with strict requirements," said Van Ryn. "Accredited organizations have engaged citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent."
According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. In addition to health and food benefits, conserving land increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. Across the country, local citizens and communities have come together to form more than 1,700 land trusts to save the places they love. Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.
"We're proud to display the accreditation seal," affirmed Sensenig. "It represents a sustained commitment to quality, hard work, and attention to detail that we want to communicate to our community. We're in this for the long haul, so it's very important that we do things right—accreditation not only ensures that our conservation work is top-notch, it assures the public that it is too."
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About Coastal Mountains Land Trust
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has worked since 1986 to permanently protect land to benefit the natural and human communities of the western Penobscot Bay region. The Land Trust has conserved almost 10,000 acres—including 25 preserves open to the public—that feature scenic landscapes, hiking trails, working family farms, clean water resources, sustainable forests, and wildlife habitat. For more information please visit www.coastalmountains.org or call (207) 236-7091.
About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing land trust organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and that strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online at http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/newsroom/press-releases. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
About The Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance, of which Coastal Mountains Land Trust is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.
(Swanville) - A recent property purchase has added 160 acres to Coastal Mountains Land Trust's growing Meadow Brook Preserve in Swanville. Totaling 371 acres, the preserve now nearly circles the undeveloped Hurds Pond, Meadow Brook and their adjacent wetland system.
The newly added parcel, the third tract of the Meadow Brook Preserve, is an ecological complement to the Land Trust's preserve and its Hurds Pond Focus Area. Bordering a state wildlife management area, the property contains state-designated High Value Inland Wading Bird and Wildlife Habitat. The addition expands protection of the pristine wetland system, deer wintering areas, and inland wading bird habitat. In 2005 Coastal Mountains Land Trust's Board of Directors designated the Hurds Pond Focus Area as one of the Land Trust's highest priorities for its land conservation efforts.
Scott Dickerson, the Land Trust's Acquisitions Coordinator, facilitated the addition to the preserve with Ethan Bessey of E.D. Bessey and Sons Lumber, a locally-owned and family-run timber company. Although they were currently harvesting the parcel, the Besseys agreed to reduce the harvest area in order to better protect the property's mature forest stands and provide a more robust buffer to Meadow Brook and its wetlands. The timber company allows unrestricted public access to their woodlands, and they were founding members of Project Landshare, a Maine program that encourages private landowners to allow public access and recognizes them for doing so.
The purchase was facilitated with generous support from an anonymous donor and the Maine Community Foundation's Pollinator's Fund.
Planning for the entire Hurd's Pond Focus Area is supported by funding from the Maine Community Foundation's Fund for Maine Land Conservation, and by advisory help from Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Together with its partners, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Land Trust is planning public access opportunities on the pristine and undeveloped pond, including non-motorized boat access, hiking trails, and cross-country skiing opportunities.
We want to thank all who participated in the third annual Summer Sunset Party Raffle! Winners were notified after the drawing on May 30.
First Prize Winner: Summer Sunset party at Beech Nut, Brenda and Jory Squibb
Second Prize Winner: Two nights at the Samoset Resort, Martha Laitin
Third Prize Winner: Dinner for four at Saltwater Cafe, Lee Webb
Fourth Prize Winner: Cruise aboard a classic lobster boat with Camden Harbor Cruises, John Bement
Fifth Prize Winner: Limited edition nature photograph from MaineSeasons.com, Rick Ash
(Topsham) - Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), a statewide land conservation organization has honored Scott Dickerson as the recipient of the 2014 Espy Land Heritage Award. Each year MCHT presents the award to an individual, organization, or coalition for exemplary conservation efforts in Maine.
"Scott has worked long and hard to ensure that his land trust not only accomplished a number of impressive conservation projects, but also has much of the knowledge, capabilities, and resources to carry the trust's work forward over the long haul," said Tim Glidden, President of MCHT, when presenting the award at the Maine Land Conservation Conference this past weekend in Topsham. "His hard work, intelligence, and maybe just the right amount of stubbornness has resulted in a conservation legacy that has made an enormous difference in Maine."
Dickerson served for 16 years as Land Trust director before retiring from that position in February. Over the course of his career, he increased the amount of conserved land from 2,000 to almost 10,000 acres throughout western Penobscot Bay. He formed a 20-member coalition to protect the Ducktrap River, launched a campaign to protect Bald and Ragged Mountains, oversaw the rehabilitation of the 100-year-old stone hut on Beech Hill, and began a partnership with the City of Belfast that will yield a rails-to-trails greenway project.
"Thank you everyone at Maine Coast Heritage Trust for this honor, which is actually a collective award earned by all who work together to accomplish land conservation," said Dickerson upon receiving his award. "Ambitious supporters, volunteers, board members, and staff are the key ingredients of this award."
In honoring past President Jay Espy, the Board of Directors at MCHT created a fund that awards $5,000 per year - with the winner able to direct the funds to the conservation charity of their choice. Dickerson has chosen to divide the cash award to benefit three recipients: the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition, to honor Cloe Chunn; the Friends of Sears Island, to honor Marietta Ramsdell - both Chunn and Ramsdell were key founders of their respective organizations - and Coastal Mountains Land Trust to support its permanent land conservation achievements.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust is a statewide land conservation organization dedicated to protecting land that is essential to the character of Maine, its coastline and islands in particular. Since 1970, more than 142,000 acres and 300 entire coastal islands have been permanently protected. For more information, contact Rich Knox, Director of Communications and Public Policy at (207) 729-7366, or visit www.mcht.org.
Present for the "big check" hand-off at Belfast City Hall: (front, from left) Chris Lobley and Cathy Reynolds of Bangor Savings Bank; Courtney Collins and Kristen Lindquist of Coastal Mountains Land Trust; (rear, from left) Doug Sensenig of Coastal Mountains Land Trust; Joe Slocum, Belfast City Manager; and Manley Rogers and Sean Ociepka of the Passy Rail Trail Campaign Committee.
(NORTHPORT)--Elisabeth Wolfe and Michael Cunning recently sold to Coastal Mountains Land Trust two parcels of land which will add 11 acres to its McLellan-Poor Preserve in Northport. To facilitate the sale, Wolfe and Cunning generously donated partial value of one of the parcels to the Land Trust.
The Land Trust received the McLellan-Poor Preserve in 2007 as a bequest from Hugh McLellan Russell facilitated by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The 66-acre property comprised two unconnected parcels located near the Belfast-Northport town line: one, larger section stretching north from Route 1 along the Belfast Water Company's Little River Reservoir, and another section lying a few hundred yards further north. The recent acquisition from Wolfe and Cunning will not only increase the size of the preserve, but more importantly, will bridge the preserve's two original sections. One of the two new parcels also provides viable access to the preserve from Herrick Road.
Development of public access to the newly-unified McLellan-Poor Preserve will now be feasible. The Land Trust will evaluate the site in the year ahead and plan a four-season trail from Route 1 to the Herrick Road, to be completed in 2015. The trail, anticipated to be about a mile in length, will wind through varied, scenic terrain featuring ravines incised by brooks and rolling, forested uplands.
One of the many scenic streams that lace the McLellan-Poor Preserve.
Scott Dickerson, the Land Trust's Land Acquisition Coordinator, noted the land owners' conservation-minded spirit: "Not only do we celebrate Elisabeth's and Michael's generous help in connecting the preserve, but this is the second critical deal we've made with them! In 1996 they helped launch our very successful effort to protect the Ducktrap River by selling to us one of the first parcels for that project."
(CAMDEN)--Coastal Mountains Land Trust recently received a $5,500 grant from the Fund for Maine Land Conservation of the Maine Community Foundation to support ongoing conservation stewardship and land acquisition work in its Hurds Pond Focus Area in Swanville. The grant will support management planning in the coming year for the Land Trust's 211-acre Meadow Brook Preserve. It will also enable Land Trust staff to reach out to other focus area landowners interested in learning about conservation options for their property. The focus area comprises significant wildlife habitat and waterways that abut a wildlife management area owned by Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.
"This grant will allow us to do the necessary work so we can plan for more trails and other ways for visitors to enjoy this beautiful landscape," said Ian Stewart, Stewardship Director for the Land Trust. "The pond, surrounding wetlands, and forest are rich with wildlife and offer wonderful the opportunity to explore a truly wild place close to home."
Canoing up a scenic inlet to Hurds Pond
Coastal Mountains Land Trust works to permanently conserve land to benefit the natural and human communities of the western Penobscot Bay region. Since 1986, the Land Trust has conserved more than 9,300 acres, including 25 preserves with over 30 miles of trails.
With offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit mainecf.org.
(CAMDEN)--The Board of Directors of Coastal Mountains Land Trust is pleased to announce that Doug Sensenig has been chosen as the organization's next Executive Director. Sensenig will assume leadership of the nonprofit in February 2014, following the retirement of current Executive Director Scott Dickerson.
No stranger to land conservation, Sensenig helped draft and negotiate one of the first conservation easements held by Coastal Mountains Land Trust, on a family property on Fernalds Neck in Lincolnville in 1987. He has served six years on the Land Trust's Board of Directors, including a term as President. In addition, he brings with him experience from two years as Executive Director of the Hawai'i Island Land Trust in Kealakekua, Hawai'i, where he guided that organization through a merger with three others to form one statewide land trust. Sensenig's extensive background as an attorney and as an investment adviser will also serve him well in his oversight and management of the Land Trust. Sensenig, his wife Jennifer Bell, and their daughter Kate live in Camden.
Photo courtesy of Doug Sensenig
Sensenig said, "Coastal Mountains Land Trust has been a part of my life for over 25 years. It's been a story of people of all backgrounds coming together to make sure we pass on the same beautiful places that were left to us. It's a story of joy, remarkable success, and a lot of great laughs. I'm honored to help carry the torch that has been so ably borne by Scott Dickerson and the excellent staff over the years. Land conservation is vitally important to our communities. It isn't about fighting change--it's about communities changing for the better."
Jim Krosschell, Land Trust Board President, affirmed, "We are very fortunate to be able to hire someone who has technical expertise, infectious enthusiasm, and long-standing ties to this community. We're looking forward to Doug's tenure with the Land Trust with great anticipation."
(SWANVILLE)--Last fall Coastal Mountains Land Trust initiated an exciting conservation project in Swanville: landowners David Hauk and Patti Fry pledged to donate 162 acres of forests and wetlands on the north side of Hurds Pond in Swanville.
In early September of this year they completed that donation.
The donated property borders the state-owned Hurds Pond Wildlife Management Area, established through a 1984 donation of land, also by Hauk and Fry. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) manages the area with the objective to protect its high quality habitat for a wide array of species including wading birds and waterfowl. Its northern boundary follows the edge of the pond's wetlands, a contorted line that is almost impossible to identify on the ground. To rectify this, and to make stewardship of the wildlife management area and our new preserve easier, the Land Trust will transfer a substantial portion of Hauk and Fry's recent donation to IF&W. The land added to the management area will also include a buffer of uplands around the wetlands.
The Land Trust will retain 78 acres of the donated property, to be named the Hauk-Fry Tract of the Meadow Brook Preserve. There are no trails on the property at present, but during the next two years an ecological inventory will be completed on the property, which will inform a long-term management plan determining appropriate uses for the preserve.
In addition to the generosity of Hauk and Fry, this new conservation acquisition was advanced through another productive collaboration with Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Costs for boundary survey, legal and title work, long-term stewardship, and other transaction expenses were funded by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant and two anonymous funders.
(NORTHPORT)--Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center and Coastal Mountains Land Trust have completed a conservation easement that takes a significant step towards the permanent protection of the entirety of Knights Pond in Northport. By working with the Land Trust to conserve one of the few remaining properties on Knights Pond yet to be permanently protected, Point Lookout has generously agreed to allow this pristine 3.1-acre property to remain an important upland and shoreline habitat for a broad range of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and plants.
Carolyn Reckman, Managing Director of athena Point Lookout LLC expressed the organization's enthusiasm for this continued partnership: "We are thrilled to support the further conservation of Knights Pond. Preserving the natural character of this area is an important priority for us, as it is one of the most compelling reasons our guests are attracted to Point Lookout. And we consider this partnership to be an important investment in the rich legacy of the ecosystem of the area."
The agreement, which allows Point Lookout to continue to provide recreational access to the pond for its guests, guarantees the scenic protection of an additional 1,232 feet of shorefront. The protected property is highly visible from the Town of Northport's public boat launch site on Knights Pond and is immediately adjacent to an additional 160.45 acres of Point Lookout property that is already protected by a conservation easement held by the Land Trust.
As one of the region's few remaining undeveloped ponds, Knights Pond and the uplands which surround it have long been considered a priority area for conservation efforts by numerous partnering organizations and state agencies. The relatively remote pond is known to host a broad range of wildlife species including deer, moose and bear. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has identified many important ecological values near the pond, including the occurrence of a rare dragonfly Ebony Boghaunter (Williamsonia fletcheri). In addition, the protected property is also immediately adjacent to a large deer wintering area identified by the state. Recent versions of the Town of Northport's Comprehensive Plan have promoted protection around Knights Pond in order to safeguard water quality and designate the pond as a special natural area.
Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center is a 396-acre facility located on the southeast face of Ducktrap Mountain overlooking Penobscott Bay in Northport and Lincolnville. Purchased in 2011 by athenahealth, Inc. as a center for collaboration and creative problem-solving, it is also deeply committed to a healthy and active Maine woods experience for visitors and guests. It is the largest meeting and conference center in Maine, supported by 106 cabins, a variety of recreational and team building activities such as ropes courses, disk golf, and kayaking, and includes a working organic farm that continues a local history of deep respect for the natural environment. To learn more about Point Lookout, visit www.visitpointlookout.com.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust permanently conserves land to benefit the natural and human communities of western Penobscot Bay. In its 27th year, the 9,182 acres of land it has conserved host 30 miles of trails and protect biological diversity, water resources, productive farms and forests, and scenic landscapes essential to our quality of place. To learn more about the Land Trust and the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign, explore this website or call (207) 236-7091.
(CAMDEN)--With a recent property purchase on Bald Mountain, Coastal Mountains Land Trust added 28 acres to its expanding Bald Mountain Preserve in Camden and Hope. The property is key to future trail expansion on the mountain, enabling the Land Trust to connect the existing Bald Mountain Trail with an extension over the scenic ridgeline to Howe Hill Road.
Soon after the Land Trust undertook its Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign in 2003, initial conversations with Howard and Dorothy Wright began regarding conservation of their property. The Wrights had bought the parcel in 1967 and used it as a wild place for their family to enjoy and explore. Located high on the northern slopes of Bald Mountain, the undeveloped tract is crested by a natural cloister of trees surrounding a bald ledge.
Over the course of ten years, the Land Trust worked with other landowners to conserve multiple parcels on Bald Mountain that now make up the Bald Mountain Preserve. Last winter the circumstances were right for both the Wrights and the Land Trust to reach a purchase agreement for the tract.
Scott Dickerson, Executive Director of the Land Trust, was grateful for the Wright’s ultimate decision to see the property conserved. "As is the case with all landowners, we worked cooperatively with the Wrights to reach a transaction that was good for them and us. They helped greatly by providing some short-term financing to provide us with time to raise the funds necessary to permanently conserve the property."
Acquisition of the Wright tract is a part of the Land Trust's ongoing Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign--49% of the 3,470 acres on the two mountains is now conserved. This total includes the Camden Snow Bowl, a conservation easement held by Georges River Land Trust, and several conservation easements and two preserves protected by Coastal Mountains Land Trust. The 583-acre Bald Mountain Preserve and 478-acre Ragged Mountain Preserve provide an extensive network of public trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking.
Note: Most news stories below are in PDF format. Please be patient if you see a white screen for awhile--some of the older stories contain images, which may slow the download process on your computer.
Letter of Commendation from US Representative Chellie Pingree in recognition of our Accreditation (10/3/12)
From Bangor Daily News (6/9/12): Land trust to open unique Rockport picnic cottage on select days
From Bangor Daily News (3/22/12): Hiking the Ducktrap River Preserve in the "Maine Matters" blog by Mike Webber
From Bangor Daily News (3/16/12): Bald Mountain Trail featured as a "one-minute hike" in the "Act Out with Aislinn" blog
2011 RUN FOR THE HILLS RACE RESULTS (9/10/11)
From the Bangor Daily News: My Favorite Places in Maine: Beech Hill Preserve (3/2/11)
From the Maine Sunday Telegram: a feature on our Beech Hill Preserve (11/20/10)
From the November - December issue of Maine magzine: "In Land We Trust," a feature by Maura Ewing on land trusts in Maine, including Coastal Mountains Land Trust (11/15/2010)
Executive Director Scott Dickerson's informational letter to the Camden Select Board regarding the Land Trust's conserved lands on Ragged Mountain in the context of potential wind power development there (mailed 8/23/10; posted here 10/8/10)
2010 RUN FOR THE HILLS RACE RESULTS (9/13/10)
LAND TRUST COMPLETES FIRST PROJECT IN MORRILL (11/25/2009)
Wonderful Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine article on Beech Nut by Carol Des Lauriers Cieri, with photographs by Brian Vanden Brink (11/11/2009)
LAND TRUST COMPLETES BEECH HILL CAMPAIGN! (10/09/2009)
TOWN OF CAMDEN SIGNS RIVERWALK EASEMENT (5/1/2009)
BEECH NUT RECEIVES AWARD FROM MAINE PRESERVATION (5/29/2008)
DONOR ADDS LAND TO FERNALD'S NECK PRESERVE (4/16/2008)