History and Founding Story

Photo courtesy of Geoff Meissner

Founding Story

Coastal Mountains Land Trust was founded in 1986 as the Camden-Rockport Land Trust by a small group of citizens intent upon preservation of Beech Hill in Rockport. The 572-acre property, at imminent risk of development, had scenic and ecological values: acres of blueberry barrens, forests, a ruined historic stone house, and the most unique summit of the Camden Hills. A conservation easement was created and purchased to protect this important landmark and served as an important launch of the land conservation program.

After starting with our focus on Beech Hill in Camden and Rockport, we expanded into Lincolnville, Northport, and then later into Belfast and surrounding towns, and finally up to Prospect and our current fifteen town service region. Initially we were an all volunteer organization, with a few dozen members, gradually we added staff with increasing community support. And today we have eight full time staff and seasonal positions, and 1,500 members. Read about the important history and accomplishments of our organization from our founding to today.


1986 - 1991

1987Conservation easement on Beech Hill.
1988Thurlow Conservation Easement on Fernalds Neck.
1990Board of Directors launch conservation planning process to prioritize conservation areas Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, and Hope. Bald & Ragged Mountains and the Ducktrap River selected as project areas.
1991Office rented in Rockport Village and Administrator hired, the first Land Trust staff person, with a large and engaged
volunteer team.

1992 - 1997

1994105 acres on the summit and slopes of Mount Battie conserved and given to the Camden Hills State Park.
1995Land Trust helps establish and lead the Ducktrap Coalition, a collaboration of nearly 30 organizations at to conserve the
Ducktrap River Watershed.
19961,000 acres of land conserved.

1998 - 2003

1998Land Trust hires first Executive Director, Scott Dickerson.
1999Conservation Lands Manager hired for stewardship of conservation lands.
2,000 acres of land conserved.
2000Service region expands to include Belfast Bay watersheds through merger with former Belfast-Northport-Lincolnville Land Trust.
2001Board adopts Conservation Plan for new Focal Area--Passagassawakeag Greenway--and hires Conservation Projects Manager to  work with landowners on priority conservation projects.
3,000 acres of land conserved.
2002Land Trust constructs and moves into new office building in Camden.
Land Trust co-publishes To Save a River, a book of photos and essays telling the conservation story of the Ducktrap River Watershed, where 83% of the land along the river has been permanently conserved.
2003Beech Hill Preserve established by collaboration with Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The summit opens to the public.
Campaign for Passagassawakeag Greenway launched in Belfast and Campaign for Bald & Ragged Mountains launched in
Land Trust receives Land Heritage Award from Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
4,000 acres of land conserved.

2004 - 2009

200445% of the Passagassawakeag Greenway conservation goals completed.
20055,000 acres of land conserved.
200637% of Bald and Ragged Mountains in conservation.
2007Restoration of Beech Nut is completed and national historic designation recognized.
2008Land Trust one of the first in the country to receive national accreditation.
6,000 acres of land conserved.
20098,000 acres of land conserved.

2010 - 2015

2010Central Maine Power donates two preserves totaling 705 acres in Searsport, Stockton Springs, and Prospect; the largest land conservation transaction to date.
201125th Anniversary Year: completed a four-season trail on Ragged Mountain.
25 miles of public trails on preserves are open.
9,000 acres of land conserved.
2014Doug Sensenig hired as Executive Director.
Scott Dickerson, winner of Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Espy Award, accepts part time role as Land Acquisition Coordinator.
National accreditation is renewed!
2015Ian Stewart hired as Executive Director after 13 years as Stewardship Program Manager.
$4.9 million Round the Mountain Collaboration Campaign launched.

2016 to 2021

2016Land Trust celebrates 30 years of conservation!
Belfast Rail Trail project complete!
2017Historic Gates at Beech Hill Preserve restored.
2018Land Trust purchases 786-acre Mirror Lake Conservation Easement from the Maine Water Company.
2019Land Trust purchases 500-acre Grassy Pond Conservation Easement from the Maine Water Company.
12,000 acres of land conserved.
Mt. Tuck conservation campaign begins.
2020Land Trust Accreditation renewed for a third time.
Two new properties in Swanville added to the Meadow Brook Preserve.
Board adopts new 25-year Conservation Plan and 2020-25 Strategic Plan.
Land for Mill Brook Preserve acquired.
Trail use explodes in face of Covid 19 pandemic as families seek safe outdoor activities.
202190-acre property on Tilden Pond - headwaters to the Ducktrap - is put under conservation easement.
Land Trust begins outdoor education inititative.
77 acres conserved on Moody Mountain.
Bresnahan donation on Ragged Mountain expands mountain bike access.

2022 to Present

2022Working with four local landowners, first projects in Town of Knox completed.
Waldo County Conservation Initiative (WCCI) created, a community-based effort to increase the pace of land conservation in Waldo County.
Mt. Tuck trail opens in Stockton Springs.
Outdoor education backpacks are distributed to Searsport teachers.