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.
Please also visit Coastal Mountains Land Trust on Facebook.
News Stories 2012 - 2013
Land Trust announces next Executive Director (10/25/13)
From Bangor Metro (1/1/13): Where the mountains meet the sea (article that mentions hiking at our Bald Mountain and Ragged Mountain Preserves among the outdoor allures of visiting Camden)
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
(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."
(CAMDEN)--In fall 2008 Coastal Mountains Land Trust became one of the first land trusts in the country--and the first in Maine--to receive national accreditation. Five years later, it's time for the Camden-based nonprofit to renew. As part of that accreditation renewal process, a public comment period is now open.
The land trust accreditation program recognizes organizations that meet national quality standards for permanently protecting important natural places and working farms and forests. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant's policies and programs.
Scott Dickerson, Executive Director of Coastal Mountains Land Trust, spoke to the importance of his organization sustaining its accreditation through this renewal process: "Accreditation assures landowners who want to conserve their property and donors who support our programs that we adhere to the highest standards for carrying out our conservation work, so that the natural legacies we're creating together will be sustained for the future."
The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Coastal Mountains Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards, see: http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program please visit www.landtrust accreditation.org. To submit a comment about Coastal Mountains Land Trust's renewal application, send an email to email@example.com. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Comments on Coastal Mountains Land Trust's application will be most useful if received by January 2, 2014.
(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.
(ROCKPORT)--Coastal Mountains Land Trust and The Maine Water Company recently celebrated completion of their acquisition of the fourth and final piece of a 203-acre property on Ragged Mountain in Rockport. Purchase of this key property permanently protects a large portion of the western slopes of the mountain, a mutual interest of the land trust, the water company, and the former owners, John and Rhonda Hart.
The Maine Water Company has purchased this property as part of its ongoing effort to own and manage the watershed of Mirror Lake, the public water supply that serves the towns of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head, and Warren. As part of the transaction, Coastal Mountains Land Trust holds a perpetual conservation easement on the property. It has been working for the past ten years to conserve Ragged Mountain and Bald Mountain for their outdoor recreation, scenic, wildlife, and water resources. The Land Trust worked cooperatively with the Harts to structure purchase of the property, which occurred in four sections.
The conservation easement achieves all of the Land Trust's conservation goals for the property, and furthers the water company's objective to protect the pristine quality of its water sources. Thanks to the Harts' cooperation and conservation vision, the purchase was staged over two years, giving the Land Trust time to raise the necessary funds.
The property will provide a key link for the Land Trust's vision of the Round the Mountain Trail. This ten-mile outdoor recreation opportunity is based from the Camden Snow Bowl, which has been a project partner since the Land Trust initiated the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign in 2003. The Land Trust and Snow Bowl have already established the first three miles of the Round the Mountain Trail, which will ultimately circumnavigate Ragged Mountain with a four-season trail offering hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. In addition, public access is secured for the property's section of the Georges Highland Path, a project of the Georges River Land Trust.
The conservation easement also permanently protects the property's highly scenic fields, forests, and and dramatic, exposed ledges that reach to the summit of Ragged Mountain, creating a large block of undeveloped wildlife habitat. Completion of this project raises the total of conserved land in the Bald and Ragged Mountains focus area to 49% of the 3,500-acre goal!
As has been the case with all of the Land Trust's conservation work on Bald Mountain and Ragged Mountain, this new project was made possible in part by the tremendous generosity of the people and businesses of the community and grant support from more than a dozen private foundations.
The Maine Water Company is a regulated public utility committed to providing high quality water and world-class service to families and communities, while being good stewards of the environment. It owns or manages public water systems serving over 16,000 customers throughout Maine in twenty communities. For more information about the company, visit www.mainewater.com.
(Camden)--Thanks to the generosity of Susan Pendleton, Coastal Mountains Land Trust now owns a new, two-acre preserve in Camden. Though smaller than most parcels owned by the Land Trust, this new preserve will deliver value far beyond its size as the new trailhead and parking area for the Land Trust's Bald Mountain Trail.
Over the past few years the parking area currently serving this trail has become overwhelmed by the popularity of that spectacular hike. The lot is often crowded in clear weather, and parking overflows onto the shoulder of the Barnestown Road. But there isn't much shoulder, and the parking area is located just below the crest of a hill. The result is a potential public safety hazard. Though the Land Trust has explored various ways to address this condition, no solution emerged. Then Ms. Pendleton stopped into the Land Trust office to ask if her family homestead might be useful as conservation land.
The Pendleton parcel is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of the Barnestown and Gillette Roads. It has been in the Pendleton's family for approximately 200 years, originally owned by her ancestors, the Barnes family. As the Barnes family expanded, so many of its extended members settled in the locale that it became know as Barnestown. Susan inherited the homestead parcel from her father, Philip Pendleton (son of Florence Barnes Pendleton), who donated a large portion of the Barnes-Pendleton Tract of the Bald Mountain Preserve to the Land Trust in 2007. The Bald Mountain trailhead and parking area is presently located on that Tract. Public access to natural lands seems to run in the family!
Upon inheriting the property, Ms. Pendleton had to face a heart-wrenching decision. What should be done with this house, which has been in her family for so long? Parts of the house date to about 1800, other parts were added later, and all of it was remodeled in different stages. The house was simply exhausted from so much time and use and had reached the end of its reasonable life. The cost of restoration was beyond the family’s means, yet the thought of selling the homestead property was unthinkable.
According to Ms. Pendleton, "I was faced with the saddest and most difficult decision of my life, when the Coastal Mountains Land Trust came to the rescue. The Land Trust worked with me to develop a plan to ensure that that the homestead site would be preserved as a positive contribution to conservation efforts in this area. Although it is with great sorrow that we realize that we must say good-bye to the Barnestown family home, the spirit of my family will remain in the land that will be preserved and protected for the enjoyment of future generations."
Prior to accepting the parcel, the Land Trust considered the history of the house, its condition, and feasibility for restoration. Upon examination, it quickly became clear that restoration would be very difficult and extremely expensive. The Land Trust consulted with the Walsh History Center of the Camden Public Library, Camden-Rockport Historical Society, Hope Historical Society, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and several individuals familiar with the history of the Barnestown area. Unfortunately, the house is not documented in any of the many historical accounts of the area, nor is much known anecdotally about its history. Given that, the Land Trust has decided that the best course is to thoroughly document the house as it is at present, which has been done by staff from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Then a contractor will be engaged to salvage the recoverable historical elements of the structure--hand-hewn beams, doors, trim, hardware, etc.--for reuse in other building restorations, and the rest will be removed from the property.
After the building site is regraded and seeded this fall, the Land Trust will plan the new parking area and trailhead improvements and work on the trail connection between the Pendleton parcel and the Bald Mountain Trail. When that is completed, the present parking lot serving the trail will be closed. In the meantime, the Land Trust requests that visitors to the Bald Mountain Trail do not park on the Barnestown Road if the current parking lot is full.
(Camden)--Coastal Mountains Land Trust has been offered a $50,000 challenge gift for its Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign, which the organization must match with an equal amount of new gifts and grants to receive in full. The Land Trust is in the final step of its four-part acquisition of the Hart Parcels on the western slopes of Ragged Mountain in Rockport. Purchase of the fourth Parcel is scheduled for this December. To make that closing date, the Land Trust needs to raise $220,000; meeting this challenge will cut that almost in half.
"We're immensely grateful to be offered this very generous challenge to help sustain momentum when our fundraising efforts need it most," stated Scott Dickerson, the Land Trust's executive director. "With this incentive, supporters can effectively double their money on this great community project."
The 203-acre Hart property is a keystone piece for the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign, a 3,500-acre project initiated by the Land Trust ten years ago. When the final Hart Parcel is conserved, 49% of that goal will have been achieved.
The Hart Parcels are central to the Land Trust's vision for the Round the Mountain Trail, a ten-mile, multi-use trail that will originate from the Camden Snow Bowl. Three miles of the Trail are already in place, and more will come as new land conservation is completed and links forged. This new, four-season outdoor recreation opportunity is also an important element in realizing the goals of the redevelopment program for the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area.
Photo by Cristina Rutter
In addition, the Hart property features diverse wildlife habitats, scenic ledges and cliffs, the highest section of the Georges Highland Path (created by Georges River Land Trust), and will protect part of the watershed of the community drinking water supply.
All four Hart Parcels will ultimately be owned by The Maine Water Company, the utility which provides drinking water to seven towns in the region. The Land Trust will hold a conservation easement ensuring protection of the land's conservation values and community benefits, including public access to the Round the Mountain trail corridor and the Georges Highland Path.
To support this effort with a timely gift to help the Land Trust meet this challenge, you can donate online (be sure to specify that your gift is for the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign), call us at (207) 236-7091, or send your support to Coastal Mountains Land Trust, 101 Mount Battie St., Camden, ME 04843 (please note on the subject line that the gift is intended for the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign).
(SWANVILLE)--Thanks to the generosity of landowner David Thanhauser, Coastal Mountains Land Trust now owns its first preserve in Swanville. The property, 49 acres that lie between Oak Hill Road and riparian wetlands along Meadow Brook, is recovering from an unfortunate series of events that include a failed subdivision development, a severe forest harvest, and a bank foreclosure auction. However, these events afforded Dr. Thanhauser the opportunity to acquire the land and donate it to the Land Trust, which was completed in late 2011. The property is named the Meadow Brook Preserve.
Meadow Brook is the primary tributary to Hurds Pond, an undeveloped, wild pond that is very close to the new preserve. Dr. Thanhauser noted that his donation was preceded by another gift of land to conservation made by the Hauk family in 1984. The property that they donated, now owned by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, protects about half of the shoreline and wetlands that surround Hurds Pond. Thanhauser hopes that these two properties, along with future conservation acquisitions in the Hurds Pond watershed, will ultimately establish a large tract of undeveloped, natural land. Conservation of land in the watershed will protect water quality in Meadow Brook and Hurds Pond, conserve diverse habitats for a wide range of wildlife species, and offer new opportunities for outdoor recreation.
"We have worked cooperatively with land owners for the past 25 years to create a conservation future for their property," said Scott Dickerson, Executive Director of the Land Trust. "It's an entirely voluntary process through which many land owners achieve a cherished goal for their property--that it remain a productive and undeveloped place of natural beauty for future generations."
The Meadow Brook Preserve, like all preserves owned by Coastal Mountains Land Trust, is open to the public for low-impact outdoor recreation such as hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hunting upland game and waterfowl. The Preserve presently has no improved trails, but the Land Trust anticipates that recovery of the forest will transform the Preserve into an attractive, natural setting for a trail that might ultimately extend to other parcels conserved in the watershed. In the meantime, however, hikers should use caution due to the slash produced by the extensive forest harvest. In order to determine suitable uses of the land, the Land Trust will be conducting an ecological inventory of the Preserve to guide its management, including eventual placement of any trails.
(ROCKPORT/HOPE)--The Maine Water Company has completed the purchase of 167 acres on Ragged Mountain, part of its ongoing effort to own and manage the watershed of the public water supply for its six-town Mirror Lake water system serving the towns of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head and Warren. This is the result of a strong cooperative effort between the water company, former owners of the land, two land trusts, and the Camden Snow Bowl.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust led the process by working with John and Rhonda Hart to conserve 203 acres of land they have owned on Ragged Mountain since 1989. Their discussions were driven by the Land Trust's nine-year campaign to conserve 3,500 acres of land on Ragged Mountain and Bald Mountain. The Harts' property, centered on the western side of Ragged Mountain, reaches from its base to the summit ridgeline. It features diverse wildlife habitats, bold cliffs and ledges, spectacular views extending to the White Mountains, and part of the Mirror Lake watershed. And, it will become a key link for fulfilling the Land Trust's vision for the Round the Mountain Trail, an outdoor recreation opportunity for hikers, cross-country skiers, and mountain bikers.
The Harts' land will be the largest single acquisition for the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign to date, bringing land conserved on the mountains to 49% of the Land Trust's goal.
As Galen Todd, President of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust Board of Directors, said, "Conservation of the Hart property will have direct, positive environmental and economic impact, helping to preserve our quality of place and greatly enhancing recreational opportunities for all of us to enjoy."
View of Ragged Mountain's western slope, including the Hart property
The Land Trust agreed to purchase 203 acres of the Harts' land as four separate, abutting parcels over two years, with the first two parcels purchased by August, 2011. The Land Trust and Aqua Maine (recently acquired by Connecticut Water Service, Inc. and renamed The Maine Water Company) began working on a way for the water company to participate in the Hart transactions. The water company, as part of their management of the Mirror Lake watershed, already owned 700 acres on the north and south sides of the Hart's property.
As a result of this new layer of cooperation, the Land Trust is selling the Hart parcels to the water company with each parcel placed under a perpetual conservation easement held by the Land Trust. The conservation easement will achieve all of the original conservation goals the Land Trust had for acquiring the Hart parcels, and furthers the water company's objective to protect the quality of its water sources. Three of the former Hart parcels are now owned by The Maine Water Company and are permanently protected by the conservation easement held by Coastal Mountains Land Trust. The fourth parcel will be purchased from the Harts in late 2012.
"We are pleased that we could participate in these transactions, supporting the goals of the Harts and the Land Trust, while at the same time purchasing additional watershed of our critical water sources," stated Judy Wallingford, President of The Maine Water Company. "This partnership is consistent with our goals of long term protection of these pristine water supplies and preservation of the natural beauty and character of this land for the communities to enjoy."
"We believe the future for our Ragged Mountain property is in good hands," said John and Rhonda Hart. "The addition of The Maine Water Company to this partnership is such a huge benefit to all that love this land."
Conservation of the Hart property is also a key step toward securing permanent public access to multipurpose recreational trails on Ragged Mountain. At its ridgeline, the property hosts the highest section of the Georges Highland Path, a hiking trail established and managed by the Georges River Land Trust. Both land trusts--Georges River and Coastal Mountains--have worked cooperatively for several years on public access trails on both Ragged and Bald Mountains. The conservation easement that Coastal Mountains Land Trust will hold on the former Hart property will ensure that the Georges Highland Path will forever traverse the upper elevations of the property.
Even though it is located on the east side of Ragged Mountain, the Camden Snow Bowl will eventually benefit from the Round the Mountain Trail that will cross the former Hart property. This vision for a ten-mile trail that circumnavigates Ragged Mountain is a key element in the Snow Bowl's plans to enhance its four-season outdoor recreation offerings. The Snow Bowl and Coastal Mountains Land Trust have already cooperated to build and open the first sections of the Round the Mountain Trail, 3.3 miles that begin at the Snow Bowl. As the Land Trust adds new conservation acquisitions through its campaign, the Round the Mountain Trail will be extended and ultimately fulfill this ambitious vision.
"Much as I appreciate simplicity," said Scott Dickerson, Executive Director of Coastal Mountains Land Trust, "there are times when complexity compounds value. Each of the partners in this process brought complementary attributes to this project, and the results demonstrate the productivity of cooperation."
The Maine Water Company is a regulated public utility committed to providing high quality water and world-class service to families and communities, while being good stewards of the environment. It owns or manages public water systems serving over 16,000 customers throughout Maine in twenty communities. .
Coastal Mountains Land Trust permanently conserves land to benefit the natural and human communities of western Penobscot Bay. In its 26th year, the 9,129 acres of land it has conserved host more than 30 miles of trails and protect biological diversity, water resources, productive farms and forests, and scenic landscapes essential to our quality of place. Support the Bald & Ragged Mountains Campaign and help us complete conservation of the Hart Property!
(CAMDEN)--The first census of land trusts in five years found 10 million new acres conserved nationwide since 2005, including close to 2 million here in Maine. The National Land Trust Census, recently released by the Land Trust Alliance, shows that voluntarily protected land increased 27 percent between 2005 and 2010. In the same time period, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, a major federal conservation program, added just over 500,000 acres and saw a 38% funding cut. The census is online at www.lta.org/census.
A total of 47 million acres--an area over twice the size of all the national parks in the contiguous United States--is now protected by land trusts. A greater percentage of the new acreage comes through local and state land trusts like Coastal Mountains Land Trust, which serves the western Penobscot Bay region. According to the census, Maine land trusts conserved 143,710 acres between 2005 and 2010, an 8% increase in land protected. Just as noteworthy is the fact that Maine came in right behind California as having conserved the highest total acreage of all other states in that time frame.
"People in Maine recognize that our scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, outdoor recreation opportunities, clean water, and productive forests and farms all contribute to our economy and quality of place. They are the primary reason people live, work, and play here," said Scott Dickerson, Executive Director of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. "Our role as a land trust is to sustain this natural legacy for the benefit of current and future generations, a role that has thankfully been consistently supported by like-minded landowners and loyal donors."
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has made significant gains in the past five years despite the economic turmoil. Close to 5,000 acres were conserved between 2005 and 2010, doubling the total conserved acreage in the western Penobscot Bay region. Significant progress was made in the Land Trust's special focus areas, including conservation of 616 acres on Bald and Ragged Mountains, boosting to almost 50% the acreage goal to preserve these two keystone mountains. Coastal Mountains Land Trust also made tremendous progress in its ongoing efforts in Belfast's Passagassawakeag Greenway, as well as completing its largest conservation acquisition to date by accepting transfer of two forested properties in Searsport, Stockton Springs, and Prospect in 2010.
An enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations has helped America's land trusts work with farmers, ranchers and other modest-income landowners to sustain a remarkable pace of more than one million acres protected by conservation easements each year! During the five-year census period, Coastal Mountains Land Trust protected almost 1,200 acres with conservation easements--primarily farms, forests, and land with water frontage or prime wetlands.
Other findings of the new National Land Trust Census include:
- Land trusts saw a 70% increase in volunteers from the previous 5-year period.
- Operating budgets for land trusts are up 36% since 2005. State and local trusts nearly tripled operating endowments in five years ensuring that land trust-protected land stays protected.
- The preservation of family farms and ranchlands is now a priority for 61% of trusts, up from 21% that listed farmland as the top priority in 2005.
- Urban parks, gardens or open spaces is now a priority for 27 % of trusts, a threefold increase over respondents in 2005.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has been working since 1986 to permanently protect land to benefit the natural and human communities of the western Penobscot Bay region, and has been nationally accredited since 2008. The Land Trust has protected more than 9,000 acres in the interest of biological diversity, water resources, sustainable farms and forestry practices, and the scenic landscapes essential to our quality of place. For more information call (207) 236-7091.
The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation organization based in Washington, D.C., that works to save the places people love by increasing the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected, enhancing the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using the best practices in the business, and ensuring the permanence of conservation by creating the laws and resources needed to defend protected land over time.
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.
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 including the video below (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)