Bald Mountain - Photo by Jacob Hessler
Coastal Mountains Land Trust was founded in 1986, originally under the name “Camden-Rockport Land Trust,” by a small group of local citizens intent upon the preservation of Beech Hill in Rockport, a 572-acre property featuring critical scenic and ecological values--rolling blueberry barrens, forests, a historic stone house, and the most scenically unique summit of the Camden Hills. At that time, faced with an uncertain future for this iconic property, a limited-development conservation easement was designed in partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and conservation buyer Jane Watson Stetson to protect this important landmark of the western Penobscot Bay landscape, a very prominent launch for our land conservation program.
Our organization was founded to serve as the holder of this easement, which endures today. Subsequently, in 2003, Coastal Mountains Land Trust acquired 295 acres of this property, including the hill’s summit and Beech Nut, the historic sod-roofed stone hut, to create the Beech Hill Preserve. This acquisition was made possible through support from the Land for Maine’s Future program, the MBNA Foundation, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and Jane and Bill Stetson.
HISTORY & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
1987: Conservation easement on Beech Hill completed.
1988: Second project completed: Thurlow Conservation Easement on Fernald's Neck.
1990: Board of Directors launch proactive effort to plan, prioritize, and protect the most important conservation areas of the region.
1991: Office rented in Rockport Village and Administrative Director hired, the first Land Trust staff person.
1994: 105 acres on the summit and slopes of Mount Battie conserved by the Land Trust and added to the State Park.
1995: Land Trust helps found and lead the Ducktrap Coalition to conserve the Ducktrap River Watershed.
1996: Completed conservation projects total 1,000 acres.
1998: Land Trust hires first Executive Director.
1999: Completed conservation projects total 2,000 acres; Conservation Lands Manager hired to lead stewardship of conservation lands.
2000: Service region expands to include Belfast Bay watersheds through merger with former Belfast-Northport-Lincolnville Land Trust.
2001: Land Trust constructs and moves into its new office building in Camden; Board adopts Conservation Plan for new Focal Areas--Bald and Ragged Mountains, Passagassawakeag Greenway--and hires Conservation Projects Manager to work with landowners on priority conservation projects; Completed conservation projects total 3,000 acres.
2002: Land Trust co-publishes with Aperture To Save a River, a book of photos and essays telling the conservation story of the Ducktrap Coalition, where 83% of the land along the river has been permanently conserved.
2003: Beech Hill Preserve acquired by collaboration of Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust and summit opened to the public; Campaign for Passagassawakeag Greenway launched in Belfast area; Land Trust receives Land Heritage Award from Maine Coast Heritage Trust; Campaign for Bald and Ragged Mountains launched; completed conservation projects total 4,000 acres.
2004: 45% of the Passagassawakeag Greenway project completed.
2005: Completed conservation projects total more than 5,000 acres.
2006: 37% of Bald and Ragged Mountains in conservation.
2007: The restoration of Beech Nut is completed.
2008: Completed conservation projects total more than 6,000 acres; Land Trust becomes one of the first in the country to receive national accreditation.
2009: Completed conservation projects total more than 8,000 acres, making us the third largest local/regional land trust in Maine by acreage conserved.
2010: Central Maine Power's donation to us of two preserves totaling 705 acres in Searsport, Stockton Springs, and Prospect is the largest land conservation transaction in our history.
2011: Begin our 25th Anniversary Year by completing a four-season trail on Ragged Mountain; we now offer 25 miles of public trails on our preserves; completed conservation projects total more than 9,000 acres.
2014: Doug Sensenig becomes our second Executive Director upon Scott Dickerson's retirement (although Scott, winner of Maine Coast Heritage Trust's Espy Award this year, stays on as our Land Acquisition Coordinator); our national accreditation is renewed!
2015: Ian Stewart transitions from Stewardship Director to Executive Director; completed conservation projects now total over 10,000 acres.
2016: The Land Trust celebrates 30 years of conservation!
Beech Nut - Photo by Judy Berk
BOARD AND STAFF
MEET OUR STAFF
Ian Stewart, Executive Director
Ian is responsible for providing strategic vision and leadership in the fulfillment of the Land Trust's mission and overseeing all organizational functions, including land protection and stewardship, fundraising, operations, communications, and financial management. He joined the organization in 2002 and led its stewardship program through mid-2015, when he became the organization's third Executive Director. Prior to joining the Land Trust, Ian earned a Master's Degree in Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. A native of Seattle, Ian first came to Maine to study biology and Latin American Studies at Bowdoin College. He lives in Appleton with his wife and two daughters.
Kathy Young, Development Director
Kathy Young moved to Camden as a young child when her father was in the Coast Guard stationed in Rockland. Both her parents are from Boston. She graduated from Camden High School and went out west to learn how to ski powder and get her Journalism degree from the University of Montana. After working for the YMCA in Montana and California, she moved to New Zealand where she lived for fifteen years. Still involved with charity work, she helped raise money for the NZ Red Cross and the University of Otago in Dunedin. She returned to the USA and Maine in 2011 and is excited to have the opportunity to work for the Land Trust with a strong team in her old stomping grounds.
Jackie Stratton, RTM Project Manager
Jackie Stratton joined our staff in December 2013 as Stewardship Project Manager. She holds a degree in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University, and previously worked as an AmeriCorps Environmental Steward with the Georges River and Medomak Valley Land Trusts, our neighbors to the south. Jackie oversees the Land Trust’s Preserves in the northern area of our service region. She feels blessed to work alongside a dedicated corps of staff and volunteers to steward our diverse protected lands. She spends her free time growing and foraging her own food, and exploring the woods and waters with her dog Maple.
Ryan Gates, Stewardship Project Manager
Ryan came to Maine from Connecticut in 1998 when he chose to attend Unity College. After working in different parts of the state, he settled on the Midcoast in 2004. Most recently employed as the Farm Operations Manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust's Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Ryan now manages the Land Trust's Preserves in the Camden/Rockport area as well as the Beech Hill Blueberry Farm. He is excited to continue his career in land conservation with the Land Trust.
Polly Jones, Office Manager
Polly grew up in Chicago and attended the University of Wisconsin. Most of her career has been spent working in the roller coaster world of nonprofits, and she is thrilled to have landed on the Coastal Mountains Land Trust team. Polly moved to Maine 20 years ago from Portland, Oregon - trading rain for snow - and couldn't be happier. Polly loves all the four-season outdoor activities Maine has to offer. In the summer of 2017 she finally conquered Mt. Katahdin.
As Land Protection Coordinator Heather has the privilege of working with landowners to conserve their property. Heather rejoined the staff recently, having previously worked for the Land Trust from 2004-2008 in the same role. She has a Masters Degree in Community Planning with a focus on Land Use from the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Policy. Before joining the Land Trust the first time, she previously worked for Sudbury Valley Trustees in Massachusetts and the City of San Diego's Conservation Planning Initiative. After living for several years in New Hampshire, she has returned home to Maine with her husband and son to be near family and enjoy all that the Midcoast area has to offer.
Jack Shaida, Land Protection Specialist
Growing up in New York, Jack moved to coastal Maine and to attend the College of the Atlantic, where he studied environmental law and policy. While in school he interned with the Land Trust. After graduating with a degree in Human Ecology in 2018, Jack moved up the coast from Bar Harbor, returning to the Land Trust to help with stewardship, community engagement, development, and map making. Currently, Jack is leading the Land Trust's 2019 conservation planning project. Jack spends his free time, cooking, hiking, skiing, biking, paddling, and rock climbing.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Coastal Mountains Land Trust's Board of Directors are volunteers from the community who share expertise, commitment, and a mutual interest in preserving the natural beauty of our area. Each director is elected for a three-year term, and can be re-elected for an additional two consecutive three-year terms.
Judy Wallingford, President
Judy was the president of Maine Water Company for 24 years, retiring in early 2017. Much of that career was spent at the company’s facilities on the shore of Mirror Lake in Rockport, the primary public water resource for the midcoast area. Born and raised in Maine, her family ties date back to the mid 1700’s. Judy graduated from Bowdoin College with majors in geology and mathematics. She loved raising her two children locally, sharing her passion for environmental stewardship with them. She feels privileged to be part of the Land Trust; helping ensure protection of and public access to the natural beauty of the area.
Tom Moore, Vice President
The natural beauty of midcoast Maine is one of the reasons Tom and his family chose to live here. The views and the great access to hiking are important factors that contribute to a high quality of life. "The Land Trust has done remarkable work in just 30 years, and I want to help see progress long into the future, particularly with the vision for Bald and Ragged Mountains".
Dan Johnson, Treasurer
When Dan returned to Maine in 2010, he was looking for an opportunity to contribute to the community. Constructing and maintaining trails, building bridges, and tracking down boundaries with a fantastic group of people has been a deeply rewarding and educational way to accomplish that. He is delighted and honored to serve on the Coastal Mountains Land Trust Board.
Darby Urey, Secretary
Ever since Darby can remember, being in the woods is where he's felt most at peace and connected with the world. He and his wife chose to relocate their family to the Midcoast largely because of the accessibility of the outdoors: the woods, trails, mountains, and waters. When he learned of the Land Trust and its incredible conservation efforts, he was determined to contribute in some way. He's thrilled to be serving on the Board and working collaboratively towards conservation of our natural places.
Mid-coast Maine is a region of great natural beauty with its mountains meeting the sea, forests, fields, watersheds, lakes, ponds and variety of wildlife habitats. Roy feels that he and his family have been the beneficiaries of the Land Trust’s vision and dedication in preserving permanently these special places. Roy is honored to assist in this very important work which will benefit many generations to come.
Courtney joined the board of the Land Trust in 2012. She feels as though "All staff and members of Coastal Mountains Land Trust take the word 'trust' very seriously", and she does too. Getting involved with the Land Trust was a natural progression for Courtney, from donating two conservation easements to the Land Trust in 2009 in her husband's memory, to relocating to Maine permanently and serving on the Board. She looks forward to the good work that we have ahead of us.
Gianne P. Conard
Gianne is an architect, soon to be retired from the federal government, and a long time supporter of CMLT. She became a full time Belfast resident in 2015. Prior to her work with the federal government, Gianne was a partner with a firm in Philadelphia and a professor of architecture at Drexel, Lehigh, and Cornell universities. A Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, she has been a former board member and volunteer with numerous professional and non-profit organizations. Gianne has also recently taken on the role of President of the Waterfall Arts Board of Directors. She can be seen around town and hiking the trails with her golden retriever, Mr. Digby Wallace.
For 35 years Landis Gabel taught economics at an institute in Fontainebleau, France. Beautiful though rural France is, for most of those summers he sought the particular beauty of the mountains and sea of the Maine coast. After retiring, he moved permanently to Maine. He has been active with the Land Trust for many years and hopes to contribute to the Trust’s mission for many years more.
David Noble is a retired trial lawyer with wide experience in civil and criminal litigation. A graduate of Duke Law School, David is married to Gayle Elizabeth Noble, a clinical social worker. They have four adult children who live in Colorado, Illinois, Ohio and Maine. David was admitted to the Bar in Ohio and the District of Columbia and has worked for different firms from 1966-2002, primarily in Ohio, as well as having a solo practice. While in Camden, David and Gayle live on Megunticook Lake and appreciate the efforts of the Land Trust to conserve important areas of this region.
Lys McLaughlin Pike
Lys was born and raised in New York City; childhood summers were spent in Lincolnville. She majored in Classical Civilizations at New York University. Lys worked for the Council on the Environment of New York City from 1973 - 2006, 28 years as Executive Director. She is married to Thomas Pike and now lives in Lincolnville. Coastal Mountains Land Trust holds two easements on almost all the property formerly owned by Lys's mother and father.
Roger is a retired endocrinologist, who moved back to Maine in 2011 with his wife, Jeannie Hutchins. His hobbies include natural history and nature photography, woodworking and tennis. He is passionate about land conservation, and working with Coastal Mountains Land Trust is one way he can give back to his community. He is inspired by the thought of 200-year-old oak and maple trees gracing CMLT’s many preserves a century from now, and imagines the joy they will bring to people from the work we are doing now.
Nick and his wife have been coming to Rockport for many years to enjoy the natural beauty of the Midcoast and Penobscot Bay. He serves on the Board of Directors for Coastal Mountains Land Trust to see that the natural beauty of the area is preserved so that all who live here or visit can continue to share it.
David grew up in Philadelphia. After completing 2 years of med school he fled the political and social turbulence of 1971 Boston and moved to Swanville as a back-to-the-land hippie in search of peace and simplicity. He returned to med school, earning an MD in 1974 and completing a family practice residency in Augusta in 1977 before returning to live in Swanville and practice family medicine in Belfast for 40 years before retiring in 2017. He has joined the CMLT board in the hopes of assisting with land conservation in the midcoast area in general and the Hurds Pond watershed in particular. He plans to be buried on his property where he will finally be a bona fide back to the lander.
Malcolm grew up in mountains of western Maine and left after college. A manufacturing management job drew him back to the Midcoast 30 years ago. In 1994, assisted by his wife, Nancy, he became a steward for the Land Trust, eventually stewarding two easements and a Preserve. That led to volunteering for work on trail maintenance and boundary lines. He loves being in the outdoors and knowing that many of these beautiful mountains and shores are being protected forever.
Many of our organization's greatest accomplishments have come as a result of close partnerships with individuals, local and statewide organizations, and government agencies that have a strong mutual interest in permanent conservation and stewardship of the land. We strongly believe that collaboration with others leads to developing strong projects, increased support, and greater benefits for the community.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust's list of regular partners includes:
Land for Maine's Future Program
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Maine Farmland Trust
Georges River Land Trust
Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition
Friends of Sears Island
Ragged Mountain Recreation Area / Camden Snow Bowl
Camden Conservation Commission
Ducktrap Wildlife Preserve, Inc.
Tanglewood 4H Camp / UMaine Cooperative Extension
Merryspring Nature Center
Midcoast Restorative Justice Project
West Bay Rotary
City of Belfast
Belfast Department of Parks and Recreation
Waldo County General Hospital
Pen Bay Medical Center
Camden Public Library
Midcoast Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association
Lincolnville Mountain Goats Snowmobile Club
Northport Ridgeriders Snowmobile Club
This list does not include all of the organizations that we have worked with over the past 30 years, just the ones that we partner with on a regular basis. If we work with your organization regularly and it is not listed, please let us know, as we would like to acknowledge our collaboration.
In 2008 we earned the right to proudly display the accreditation seal by becoming one of the first land trusts in the country (and the first in Maine) to receive accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program established by the Land Trust Alliance to ensure the accountability and quality of work of land conservation organizations.
We are particularly proud of this letter of commendation from U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree recognizing the significance of receiving accreditation.
Click HERE to learn more about the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and the accreditation seal.