Coastal Mountains Land Trust does not attempt to protect all land from development. As a community organization, we clearly understand the need within our communities to have places where people can live and work. Instead, our goal, as a land conservation organization, is to identify and protect those areas within our service region that possess the highest conservation values and therefore yield the most public benefit. To this end, we work proactively to identify the areas of highest conservation values within our service region and target the time and resources of our organization to conserving lands within those area, which we call conservation focus areas.
Current conservation focus areas of Coastal Mountains Land Trust include:
As of the summer of 2013, we also have a collaborative partnership with the City of Belfast to help raise funds for the City to construct the Passy Rail Trail, a two-mile gravel path appropriate for foot and bike traffic on the old Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad corridor, from downtown Belfast to the crossing at the City Point Railroad Museum.
Planned Giving Campaign
Planned Gifts include a set of options that can be crafted to best fit the donor's family and financial circumstances while supporting the capacity of the Land Trust to forever care for its conservation lands. As is the case with all qualified donations, significant tax benefits can result, reducing income and estate taxation.
Download our Planned Giving options packet for more details
We can make choices: outdoor recreation in scenic mountain landscapes, naturally pure drinking water, and abundant wildlife
A drive through the countryside around western Penobscot Bay quickly confirms that our natural landscape is being changed forever by rapidly escalating residential development. This trend is also driving the cost of land to unprecedented heights. Our response to this challenge means everything to the future character of our communities--we have a brief window of time to protect our very special places like the Bald and Ragged Mountains. All of the data testifies for action:
- from 2001 to 2010 the population of Knox County increased 7%
- most of this growth is occurring outside of our traditional village centers
- conversion of rural land to subdivisions and houses blocks public access to natural land, degrades our natural scenery, diminishes biodiversity, removes agricultural and forest assets from production, and damages water quality
- once land is developed, the opportunity to conserve its benefits for human and natural communities is lost for generations, if not forever.
Hikers on Bald Mountain
Please Help With Your Generous Donation
Donate now to the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign.
We need $3.6 million of local support to match $5.4 million that we expect to secure from private foundations and state and federal programs. Raising these funds is necessary to assure that the Bald and Ragged Mountains will remain beautiful, rich in opportunities for outdoor recreation and productive habitat for a bountiful diversity of the wildlife we all enjoy.
As of August 2010 the Land Trust is raising funds to permanently conserve the Hart Tract, shown here--a keystone property on Ragged Mountain.
Our most recent project in Bald and Ragged Mountains: John and Rhonda Hart owned 203 acres that encompass the western side of Ragged Mountain, featuring densely forested slopes, blueberry fields, and bold open ledges. They sold their land to us and to have restricted the rest of their property from additional residential development. We completed the purchase in four stages over two years, selling each parcel as we acquired it to the Maine Water Company, after restricting it with a permanent conservation easement and retaining public trail corridors.
- In December 2010 we purchased 41 acres for $375,000!-Done!
- By 30 June 2011 we purchased 58 acres for $255,000-Done!
- By 12 January 2012 we purchasde 68 acres for $375,000-Done!
- By 31 December 2012 we purchased 36 acres for $295,000-Done!
With this project completed in late 2012 and another in the summer of 2013, we have now reached 49% of our original conservation goal for Bald and Ragged Mountains. Please contact our office at (207) 236-7091 for more information about current projects associated with this very active campaign!
This is our opportunity to save the 4th and 5th highest mountains on the East coast of the United States. One of the most striking landscapes in western Penobscot Bay is that of the Bald and Ragged Mountains. These bold summits and their shoulders, 3,470 acres of dramatically scenic cliffs and forests, offer a broad diversity of community and conservation benefits. However, there is no assurance that these values will be protected for future generations unless we act now.
Ragged and Bald Mountains, viewed from our Beech Hill Preserve
Conservation of the Bald and Ragged Mountains will permanently:
- provide new and enhanced opportunities for four-season outdoor recreation based from the Camden Snow Bowl, including our vision for a Round the Mountain Trail on Ragged
- permanently protect and expand existing trails, many of which are currently on private land by permission, to assure continuing public access
- preserve the dramatic scenery of two mountains that frame the horizons around our towns
- conserve rare plants, exemplary natural communities, deer wintering yards, and large, unfragmented areas of wildlife habitat
- protect undeveloped, forested land on Ragged Mountain that is in the watershed of Mirror Lake, part of the drinking water supply for seven towns
- ensure the community's natural quality of life, a keystone of the local economy and one of the foremost reasons we choose to live, work, and play here!
photo: Fred Ribeck
These are our opportunities now. . .but they will steadily diminish in the next few years, and ultimately vanish, in the face of development trends that threaten this natural legacy.
For more information about the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign, please contact:
Ian Stewart, Executive Director, or
Kathy Young, Development Director
Coastal Mountains Land Trust
101 Mount Battie Street
Camden, ME 04843
View the original Bald & Ragged Mountains Campaign brochure.
Visit Ragged Mountain Preserve and Bald Mountain Preserve.
Donate now to the Ducktrap River Campaign.
A major project led by Coastal Mountains Land Trust
Turner Falls, Ducktrap River; Photo Credit: Corelyn Senn
The Ducktrap River Watershed is an extraordinary natural treasure and conservation opportunity. Located midway between the rapidly developing Camden and Belfast areas, the Ducktrap River runs for more than nine miles through wetlands and forests that are still undeveloped, quiet, and rich in wildlife and scenic vignettes of a wild landscape. The pristine habitat for spawning and young salmon make it one of only eight rivers in the United States that continue to support wild Atlantic salmon. To preserve this remarkable river, the Ducktrap Coalition, led by Coastal Mountains Land Trust, has launched a campaign to protect the critical river corridor. We envision that the lands beside the river will remain forever wild, permanently conserved, a legacy for future generations and for the salmon, white pine, scarlet tanagers, black cherry, otters, and all the other wild species that depend on the river corridor, riparian wetlands, and forested slopes. To realize our vision, we work on a strictly voluntary basis with river land owners to protect lands with conservation easements and parcel purchases. Thanks to the willingness of landowners to work with us and the generosity of our members and friends, 83% of the river corridor has already been conserved. We are confident that with your help, this entire river will soon be permanently protected!
The Ducktrap Coalition
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has led this collaboration of 20 diverse organizations, which includes municipal, state, and federal agencies, as well as conservation, environmental education, and citizens groups. The mission of the Coalition is the voluntary protection of the Ducktrap River, including its natural features and critical watershed.
- Preservation of the Ducktrap River Atlantic salmon and their habitat.
- Protection of the natural communities and rare plants and animals of the watershed.
- Stewardship of the natural and scenic features of the watershed.
- Creation and maintenance of a trail along the river corridor.
- Restoration of the ecological functions of land that has been degraded.
- Environmental education opportunities for the people of the Ducktrap watershed and nearby communities.
Visit the Ducktrap River Preserve!
For more information about the Ducktrap River Campaign, please contact Ian Stewart, Executive Director, at (207) 236-7091 or [email protected].
Just imagine . . . a public trail starting at the very edge of Belfast, meandering along the river and through two miles of beautiful river-bluff forests . . . The Passagassawakeag River flows between scenic, wooded bluffs before it merges with the tides in Belfast Harbor. Despite its proximity to the city, the landscape of the river's lower reaches remains remarkably pastoral and natural, presenting an exceptional conservation opportunity. Between City Point Road and Route 137, the bluffs above the southerly side of the river are largely undeveloped forests. Coastal Mountains Land Trust is working cooperatively with land owners to create the Passagassawakeag Greenway, a two-mile public trail surrounded by protected natural lands, along and overlooking the river.
The Passagassawakeag Greenway will create a wonderful outdoor recreation experience for the people of Belfast and the region, providing people with a great place to hike, ski, snowshoe, and enjoy the scenic lower Passagassawakeag River area.
The prospects for creating the Greenway are very promising. Its proposed route passes through ten parcels that offer an undeveloped, forested corridor on the river bluffs. Four of these parcels have been secured:
- the Land Trust's 8-acre Knowlton-Swanson- Stephenson Preserve anchors the southern end of the Greenway
- the 17-acre Hall Conservation Easement protects one of the mid- Greenway parcels, including 650 feet along the river
- the Stover Preserve protects 45 wooded acres along the upper river, including 1,600 feet of river frontage
- the 92-acre Head of Tide Preserve links the Stover Preserve and Hall Conservation Easement, thus anchoring the northern end of the Greenway, and features 2,460 feet of scenic, forested river frontage
In addition, the Belfast City Council has permitted use of the City's former ski slope property for a trail constructed and maintained by the Land Trust.
The Land Trust has begun discussions with the owners of the other five parcels, and will work with them on a cooperative and voluntary basis to engage their interest in the Greenway.
Protection of the Greenway
When Ralph Stephenson donated the Knowlton-Swanson-Stephenson Preserve to Coastal Mountains Land Trust in 2000, he explained his extraordinary generosity by saying,
"I am giving this wooded area in Belfast to Coastal Mountains Land Trust as a gift to the community. It will be owned and managed by the Land Trust as a wildlife preserve, and a footpath for public use will be created. It will remain undeveloped. It may become a part of a larger 'green belt' surrounding the City of Belfast, which has been discussed for a few years. This gift is my way of saying 'thanks' for all that this town has given me. I hope that others will think of setting other properties aside for future refuge and recreation in this growing area on the coast of Maine. "
We could not have expressed the value of the Greenway any better. Ralph's gift of eight acres overlooking the river is a natural land gem that features a sparkling brook bounding through mature, riverbluff forest. In November 2002, volunteers and the Land Trust constructed a public footpath through the Preserve, offering opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, nature study, environmental education, and other activities suitable to the undeveloped, natural character of the land.
Ralph's leadership has encouraged other land owners to explore conservation options for their property. In 2003 the Land Trust purchased the Hall Conservation Easement, which protects 17.4 acres of the Greenway corridor, including 650 feet of frontage on the Passagassawakeag River. Funds for this purchase were raised from many local donors and two private foundations. The Belfast City Council then approved entering into a trail construction and management agreement with the Land Trust on the 19-acre site of the former ski slope, providing a new outdoor recreation future for this dramatic property. The Land Trust has constructed a 1.75-mile loop trail on the property.
In June 2004 the Land Trust purchased the Stover Preserve at the northern end of the proposed Greenway. This 45-acre forested property features a beautiful reach of the river, more than 1,200 feet, passing through the overarching canopy beside banks rimmed with wildflowers and rushes. A 1.5-mile loop trail now provides access to the scenic river bluff of this preserve.
In December 2009 we purchased a 92-acre farm with 2,460 feet along the Passagassawakeag River, thanks to the cooperative efforts of land owners Jason and Martha Campbell. This keystone property links two properties previously conserved by the Land Trust: the Stover Preserve and the Hall Conservation Easement. The new acquisition is now named "Head of Tide Preserve" because it marks the farthest upriver reach of the river's tidal waters.
In the year ahead the Land Trust will increase the existing Greenway trail system by more than 50% when we create a new loop trail on the Head of Tide Preserve. Watch our website for information on a trail opening in summer - fall 2011.
Raising the Resources
In order to fund the purchase of this preserve, the Land Trust launched Phase Two of the Passagassawakeag Greenway Campaign, led by Land Trust Board members, staff and Belfast area residents. Many people have already donated to this effort, as well as the Savage Family Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, William Wharton Trust, and Fields Pond Foundation. These gifts and grants were supplemented by bridge financing from Bangor Savings Bank, which enabled the Land Trust to close on the purchase while providing crucial time to raise additional funds necessary for this new preserve.
The generosity of many individuals, along with further grants from private foundations, will be needed to fulfill this second phase of the Passagassawakeag Greenway Campaign--to complete payment for the acquisition, allocate 5% of the funds raised to the expenses of the effort, and support the stewardship necessary for managing the preserve and building trails and a parking area for public access. Members of the Campaign Committee will continue working with people, private foundations, and government programs that share our hope to create the Greenway and fully secure its benefits for the Belfast community.
Donate now to the Passsagassawakeag Greenway Campaign.
Campaign for the Passagassawakeag Greenway: How You Can Help
Phase One of the Campaign received more than $200,000 in individual and business donations, pledges, and grants. To expand the Greenway and complete financing for the Head of Tide Preserve and its trail system, we need the broadest and strongest support from the Belfast region and beyond!
For more information about the Head of Tide Preserve and the Passagassawakeag Greenway Campaign, please contact:
Ian Stewart, Executive Director, or
Kathy Young, Development Director
Coastal Mountains Land Trust
101 Mount Battie Street
Camden, ME 04843