2015: An Important Year for Conservation

Image credit: Steve Betts, BDN

In 2015, Georges River Land Trust partnered with a municipality, a multi-generational family owned business, and several landowners to secure 104 additional acres of conservation land throughout the watershed. Two of our preserves gained valuable acreage with generous donations from neighboring landowners and two easements in the middle and lower watershed will ensure working forests and recreational access are protected.

In Cushing, the Pleasant Point Preserve has an additional nine acres of forestland, donated by John and Pamela Blackford who live nearby on Stones Point Road. They recognized the community benefits of the protected lands accessible to the public in the interior of Cushing and with their addition, there will be more opportunities to hike and explore the woodlands. The Pleasant Point Preserve now protects 74 acres while providing low impact recreation. In Searsmont, a generous private donation added 26 acres of forested wetland habitat to the Gibson Preserve. This new donation protects portions of the Black Spruce Bog, which is part of a significant 2915-acre wetland community in the Georges River headwaters. The Gibson Preserve is now 150 acres, with mixed habitats and a broad array of opportunities for low impact recreation.

For the first time, Georges River Land Trust holds a conservation easement on a municipally owned property. Last August, the citizens of Owls Head voted to accept a donation of 10 acres in the village with frontage on Broad Cove from Todd Swinton and then to accept conservation easement on this new Preserve with the Georges River Land Trust. When Todd inherited his uncle’s homestead, he immediately thought of conservation and trails for this 10-acre portion. The local conservation commission led the effort to ensure the gift of land would forever be available to the citizens in the community. So the Land Trust worked with Todd and the Conservation Commission to place an easement on the Plaisted Preserve for low impact access. We are now working with the Conservation Commission to design a footpath and interpretive materials for the new municipally owned Preserve.

Robbins Lumber Inc., a five generation sawmill and lumber company recently added 59 acres to their forest supply when they purchased the former Friends of Nature property on Western Road in Warren. Soon after their acquisition, the company negotiated a conservation easement with the Georges River Land Trust to ensure the continued management of the woodlands while also protecting the underlying gravel deposits and perennial streams which flow into the St. George River. This is the second easement that the land trust proudly holds with Robbins Lumber, a demonstration of the partnership between local industry and conservation.