News Archive

Announcing Loon Echo Land Trust’s Environmental Education Grants

 (Bridgton, ME)  November 28, 2016   Many parents and educators are grappling with the same questions: “How do I get my children to spend more time outside?  How can I teach them to appreciate the natural world?  Loon Echo Land Trust has an answer.  To help children learn about their environment and the importance of protecting our region’s land and natural resources, bring the environment to them.   Every year, schools and libraries in Loon Echo’s 7-town service area (Denmark, Bridgton, Harrison, Naples, Casco, Raymond and Sebago) are invited to apply for one of Loon Echo’s Environmental Education Grants.

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Chewonki Tidal Pool Program at the Harrison Village Library

Loon Echo’s 2016 recipients used their grants for a host of outdoor activities and to bring in expert speakers.  The Harrison Village Library used their grant to host Chewonki’s Traveling Natural History program, Tide Pools, allowing children to learn more about Maine’s rocky intertidal ecosystem.  And the Bridgton Public Library has developed naturalist backpacks which can be “checked-out” like a book and include items for children and their caregivers to use as fun educational tools on their outdoor adventures. 

Loon Echo is pleased to announce they are accepting applications for these grants now through January 15, 2017.  Applications may be downloaded from Loon Echo’s website at www.LELT.org (under the Programs tab) and returned by email or mail by the January deadline.  Grant recipients will be notified by mid-February of 2017. 

Loon Echo Land Trust protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 30 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.  

 For information about membership, upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

The New Ledges Trailhead Parking Lot Open

Loon Echo Land Trust Completes Construction on the Ledges Trail Parking Lot at Pleasant Mountain Preserve

Until recently hikers wishing to ascend Loon Echo Land Trust’s Ledges Trail to the summit of Pleasant Mountain had to park along Mountain Road in Denmark.  Upon hearing the need for a parking lot, North Rock Partners, represented by Bridgton resident Phil Libby, responded by donating 2.39 acres of land specifically to ease the problem.  Upon receiving the deed to the property on November 2nd, Loon Echo immediately designed a parking lot and hired local contractor, Khiel Excavation, to do the construction.

The need for the new parking area arose due to the year-round popularity of the Ledges Trail on Pleasant Mountain.  “Loon Echo recognized the safety concern that the lack of adequate off-road parking created with only a small pull off available,” said Thom Perkins, Executive Director of Loon Echo Land Trust, “ Now instead of a line of cars parked along Mountain Road 18-20 cars can be accommodated right at the trailhead.”

“We are happy to proledges-lotvide this recreational parking lot for the public at one of our most popular hiking trails at Pleasant Mountain Preserve,” said Jon Evans, Loon Echo’s Stewardship Manager.  “This new parking area will be open year round and will be plowed throughout the upcoming winter season.”  Khiel Excavation is donating plowing services for the parking lot this winter.

 

Loon Echo’s Ledges Trail is a popular hike year round for outdoor enthusiasts looking to summit the state’s iconic Pleasant Mountain.  The Ledges Trail is 1.8 miles from trailhead to the summit of Pleasant Mountain with a 1.600 foot elevation gain.  The new parking area is located at the at the site of the previous 4-car roadside parking pull off, approximately 3 miles from the intersection of Mountain Road and Route 302 in Bridgton.

“We would like to thank Phil Libby of North Rock Partners, Khiel Excavation and the Town of Denmark.  With their help and support the project was completed ahead of schedule,“ said David Diller, Loon Echo Land Trust’s president.
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Loon Echo Land Trust protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 30 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.

For information about membership, upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

 

 

Loon Echo Seeks Your Input

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The Board of Directors is embarking on our next 3 year Strategic Plan.  In order to understand where the organization is heading, it is important to know who you are and what you think Loon Echo should be doing.  We value your input and ask you to please take 3 minutes to fill out a short survey.

Start Survey Now

 

Loon Echo Land Trust Receives Land Donation to Improve Parking at the Ledges Trail Head

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Phil Libby of North Rock Partners presents deed to Thom Perkins, Executive Director of Loon Echo Land Trust

 

Hikers looking to take Loon Echo Land Trust’s Ledges Trail on Pleasant Mountain and residents surrounding its location on Mountain Road in Denmark will soon have a solution to the popular trailhead’s limited parking.  Through the generous donation of 2.39 acres on Mountain Road from North Rock Partners, represented by Phil Libby, to Loon Echo Land Trust, the Bridgton based nonprofit will construct an improved parking area allowing up to 25 cars to park.

“Our Stewardship Manager, Jon Evans, is in the process of final design and we expect to have this parking lot available by December 1st, Loon Echo’s Executive Director, Thom Perkins notes. “We fully expect that this new parking lot will help eliminate parking issues along Mountain Road and be a great resource for the year-round hiking public.”

Loon Echo’s Ledges Trail is a popular hike year round for outdoor enthusiasts looking to summit the state’s iconic Pleasant Mountain.  The Ledges Trail is 1.8 miles from trail-head to the summit of Pleasant Mountain with a 1.600 foot elevation gain.  The new parking area will be location at the same location as the existing 4-car roadside parking pull off, approximately 3 miles from the intersection of Mountain Road and Route 302 in Bridgton.

Loon Echo Land Trust protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 30 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.

For information about membership, upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

Gate to Hacker’s Hill Preserve Closed For the Winter Season

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Hackers Hill in the winter.  Photo Connie Cross

After another fantastic summer and fall, the gate to drive up to Hacker’s Hill Preserve in Casco is officially closed for the winter season.  We will re-open to vehicular traffic in the spring of 2017 and as always, foot traffic is welcome year round.

The $800,000 capital campaign to protect Hacker’s Hill was completed in 2013 as a result of generous donations from the town and many businesses and members.  Hacker’s Hill holds a special place in the hearts of so many people who have visited to celebrate proms, weddings, family gatherings and of course to see the sun set over the White Mountains.

The “hill” attracts visitors from all over New England as the road to the top allows everyone and all abilities to enjoy its quiet solace.   Loon Echo offers programs to the public at the preserve every year including geology programs, hawk migration watches and kite making programs with the town of Casco and our annual summertime Acoustic Sunset Concert series.  In the winter visitors can park in the small pull off to the left of the entrance and hike to the top for stunning views of the winter landscape.   Snow snowmobiling is welcome on the designated trail seen on the preserve map HERE.

If you are interested in holding a wedding or other event at Hacker’s Hill Preserve, click HERE for the reservation form.  If you have any questions please email us at info@lelt.org or call (207)-647-4352.

 

 

 

Loon Echo Land Trust Seeks Accreditation – Public Comment Period Open

September 6, 2016 BRIDGTON, ME – The non-profit conservation organization Loon Echo Land Trust based in Bridgton, ME is seeking accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance Commission.  The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.  A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. “

“The Board of Directors voted to seek accreditation and the staff and board have been working towards this goal for a couple of years,” said Thom Perkins, Loon Echo’s Executive Director.  “We feel it is adds to the long term credibility of our community’s organization.”

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Loon Echo 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/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org. 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 Loon Echo’s application will be most useful by November 10, 2016.

Time To Get Your Trek On: Loon Echo Land Trust Hosts 16th Annual Loon Echo Trek Fundraiser

 

For the last 15 years, on the third Saturday in September, hundreds of hikers and cyclists across New England have come out to support Loon Echo Land Trust and its land conservation efforts by participating in the Loon Echo Trek.  This year the tradition continues as Loon Echo Land Trust, headquartered in Bridgton, gears up for the 16th annual Trek.  The event starts and ends at host site Shawnee Peak Ski Area on Saturday, September 17th.  Online registration at www.bikereg.com/2016-loon-echo-trek closes on September 11th.

This fun, family friendly annual hiking and cycling event boasts the Toughest Century in Maine, with options for 25, 50 and 80 mile routes for road cyclists. Hikers can choose either a 4.5 or 6 mile route across the ridge line of Pleasant Mountain. Trekkers can also choose to do a little of both with the Hike & Bike option.  Fair-weather fans can register the morning of the event at Shawnee Peak Ski Area.  There is no cap on the number of riders allowed to participate, but hikers are limited to 50 participants.

“This year I registered to do the Hike and Bike combo so I can enjoy the gorgeous views atop Pleasant Mountain and the beautiful views riding throughout western Maine towns! Great exercise, great views, delicious food and drink…all for a great cause!” said Loon Echo Land Trust member and Trek enthusiast, John Keller of Gray, Maine,  “I’m excited to be doing my 6th Loon Echo Trek!!! Such a great event to help support all the awesome work they do at preserving beautiful land in western Maine for all to enjoy!”

With the help of their dedicated volunteers and sponsors the Trek provides a fully supported adventure with rest stations located throughout the bike routes offering trekkers water and delicious snacks to refuel with.  Many of these rest stations are staffed by the same friendly faces year after year, a truly welcoming site to folks who ride and hike each year.  Ernie’s Cycling Shop of Westbrook, Maine has been a sponsor of the event for the past  8 years and once again will provide a team to help with minor bike repairs needed at the event.  Ham radio operators from Yankee Amateur Radio will be providing communication services the day of the event.

All participants and volunteers are welcomed back to Shawnee Peak for a post-Trek party, featuring an all new taco bar, Allagash beer, massages from Richard Bader Physical Therapy and live music from the great local band, Junco.  Throughout the party Loon Echo will be raffling off outdoor gear and prizes to all who ride, hike and volunteer donated by Swix, WCLZ, AMC, Pearl Izumi, Maine DOT, EMS and Darn Tough.

The partnership between Loon Echo Land Trust and Shawnee Peak goes back to 2002 when the Trek event was moved to the Ski Area.  In 2004 Loon Echo made its first public announcement for their campaign to purchase and protect land on Pleasant Mountain.  Just last summer the land trust purchased an additional 180 acres from Shawnee Peak, including the North Peak and additional forested parcels to the west.  This brings to over 2,080 acres of iconic Pleasant Mountain owned and protected by the land trust.

Loon Echo Land Trust oversees the management of the hiking trail network on Pleasant Mountain. The majority of the Ledges, Bald Peak and Southwest Ridge trails are owned by the nonprofit conservancy organization.  They have signed trail agreements with four additional generous landowners to allow Loon Echo to conduct trail maintenance and improvements and to allow the public to access the high peak.

“The Loon Echo Trek is both a great family event and a challenging endurance event at the same time,” says Tracy Burk, event coordinator for the Trek. “You will find dedicated cyclists tackling the toughest century in Maine, but you might also encounter a rider on a unicycle. You will see entire families enjoying the hike and the fall foliage together … At the end of the Trek, participants enjoy great food and live music at the post-Trek party.” Tracy Burk, Loon Echo Trek Coordinator

Loon Echo Land Trust conducts events throughout the year.  The next event is A Hawk Migration Watch at Hacker’s Hill Preserve in Casco, ME on September 24th.  More information on this and other events can be found on Loon Echo’s website at HTTP://www.loonecholandtrust.org/events/

Loon Echo Land Trust protects over 6,600 acres of land and manages 28 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.

For more information about upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

 

Loon Echo’s Summer/Fall Newsletter

Summer/Fall Newsletter

Twice a year we publish Loon Echo NEWS to keep you up to date on our exciting projects and events.  If you have not had a chance to read our most recent Winter/Spring 2016 issue you can read it along with many back issues here.  Our newsletter is a terrific resource for updates on current land projects, stewardship work and programs as well as important articles regarding land trusts.  This summer and fall you will find a busy calendar of events which we hope to see you at.  From our Hacker’s Hill astronomy and geology programs to our annual Loon Echo Trek in September there is something of interest for all ages and abilities.

Our newsletter is just one of the benefits of being a member of Loon Echo Land Trust.  A donation of any dollar amount to our annual fund makes you a member of Loon Echo for one year.  Member support is what enables Loon Echo to carry out our mission of protecting the natural charm of the Lake Region.  We welcome all those who share our passion for protecting land and quality of life.  Become a member today!  

Maine’s Newest Community Forest Established In Raymond

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Pismire Mtn from Crescent Lake

Maine’s Newest Community Forest Established In Raymond

BRIDGTON, ME (June 27, 2016) –  On June 21st, the first full day of summer, the Raymond Community Forest in the Town of Raymond, became the newest Community Forest in the state of Maine.  The nonprofit Loon Echo Land Trust purchased the land from Hancock Land Company for the town of Raymond.  The Raymond Community Forest encompasses a 356 acre parcel of land to the east of Crescent Lake bisected by Conesca Road.  This new community forest offers long-term multiple benefits for the town, including protection of the quality of Raymond’s waterways and wildlife, as well as exceptional views to and from Pismire Mountain.

The Raymond Conservation Commission had their eyes on the property since developing its Open Space Plan in 2009.  The land conservation project was first proposed by the Raymond Conservation Commission and Loon Echo Land Trust in 2012.

According to Chairman John Rand, “This property has many valuable assets that we mapped during our planning process including water quality and habitat protection, trail and recreation opportunities, a forest resource that can help support our economy, and a fabulous view from the top of Pismire Mountain.  In sum, this is one of Raymond’s Special Places that our plan sought to protect.”

Hancock approached Loon Echo to initiate a partnership between the company, Loon Echo Land Trust and the Town of Raymond.  In May of 2013, a detailed proposal was presented to the Raymond Board of Selectmen. The Board provided a vote of support for Loon Echo to enter into the agreement with Hancock to essentially buy time and the option to purchase the land. They were grateful to Hancock for agreeing to such generous terms and to Loon Echo for its efforts. The Board viewed the project as an opportunity too important for the town to pass up.

“The property has been owned by Hancock Land Company dating back to 1943.  With the help of Kevin Hancock’s support of this project by donating a portion of the cost, this

acquisition preempted development and will retain the rural characteristic that is so important to the residents of Raymond,” John Rand continued.

Through the hard work and dedication by the Raymond Conservation Commission and the citizen based Steering Committee, Loon Echo Land Trust, the Town of Raymond, the Open Space Institute, Portland Water District, Lands For Maine’s Future, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, David Conservation Foundation, William P. Wharton Trust, The Anonymous Foundation, Camp Agawam and over 200 individuals and families the property will be conserved permanently.
“We commend Raymond’s citizens for coming together to protect this important forestland – a place that will long provide so many economic and environmental benefits to their community. The Open Space Institute is gratified to support such a deserving project through our Community Forest Fund,” said Jennifer Melville, OSI VP for Conservation Grants and Loans.

Recreational plans are being developed with the assistance of community members. Plans include establishing a parking area on Conesca Road and developing hiking trails leading to the cliffs of Pismire Mountain.  Plans for the lower elevation forest include low-impact multi-use trails such as walking, hiking, cross country skiing/snowshoeing and mountain biking.  Traditional uses such as hunting will continue.  The property has had a long tradition of sustainable forest management. With a history of forestry, the property will continue to provide necessary income through timber management to support the land and trails into the future.

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Thom Perkins, Exec Director, Loon Echo Land Trust, Kevin Hancock, President Hancock Land Company and Carrie Walia, Senior Advisor Loon Echo Land Trust with transferred deed 6/21/16

Loon Echo’s Raymond Community Forest Project campaign had raised over 90% of the funds needed to purchase the property by this past November, just 10% short of the $680,000 needed for the purchase.  With a 6 month extension to the purchase agreement from Hancock Land Company the final push to raise funds was achieved with The Open Space Institute awarding $30,000 towards the project and Raymond’s residents voted overwhelmingly to contribute an additional $6,800 for the project.  With this generous last minute support Loon Echo was able to close on the property on the summer solstice.  A modest reserve has been established to be used for stewardship and trail work.  Fundraising will continue to support these efforts as plans are on track to open a portion of the trails for the 2016 fall season.

Loon Echo Land Trust protects over 6,556 acres of land and manages 28 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality for greater Portland’s 200,000 residents, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.

For more information about upcoming events or ways you can support the trail construction for the Raymond Community Forest, go to Loon Echo Land Trust website at www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

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“This project was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket (currently $1.00 per ticket) are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. For more information about MOHF, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/MOHF.html