News Archive

Volunteers Give Back on National Trails Day

Bridgton, ME. Over twenty people gave back to the hiking trails on Pleasant Mountain to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1. Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT), who owns and protects over 2,000 acres on Pleasant Mountain and manages the ten-mile trail network, hosted the trail work day.

Members from the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club, scouts from Troop 71 and members of Run for the Hills Run Club all joined in to give back to the trails. Volunteers focused their efforts on the Bald Peak and Sue’s Way trails; clearing drainage structures to keep water from pooling on the trails and helping brush in ‘social trails’. In addition, the volunteers helped move the Bald Peak Trail Kiosk and a donation tube from the old Bald Peak trail head to the new trail head a few hundred feet away.

“Thousands of people hike our Pleasant Mountain trails every year,” said LELT Executive Director, Matt Markot. “Without our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide a quality hiking experience for visitors while simultaneously protecting the natural systems on Pleasant Mountain.”

National Trails Day, hosted annually by the American Hiking Society, aims to bring recognition to the incredible benefits trails provide for recreation, access to the outdoors, and general well-being. To celebrate, individuals are encouraged to give back to the trails they use by picking up litter or attending a trail work day.

In total, LELT maintains over 31 miles of hiking and biking trails on their ten preserves. With only one staff member to cover all their land, LELT relies on their volunteers to complete some of the trail maintenance and monitoring. The Land Trust has a robust trail adoption program where groups or individuals maintain the trails and report hazards to LELT staff 3 or 4 times a year. LELT also hosts volunteer trail work days to provide folks with an opportunity to learn more about the process. 

“No experience is necessary to join our trail work days,” said LELT’s Stewardship Manager Jon Evans. “Our volunteers and staff provide clear expectations, training and tools when needed.” 

If you’re interested in volunteering with Loon Echo Land Trust, sign up here or give us a call at 207-647-4352.

Historically Significant Land Closer to Being Conserved

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) moved another step closer to conserving 252 acres of forestland in South Bridgton this week. LELT announced that the Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation granted them $12,500 to help purchase the property, which will be called “Peabody-Fitch Woods.”

Peabody-Fitch Woods will forever protect the land surrounding Bridgton Historical Society’s historic Narramissic Farm. Conserving this land will ensure public access for recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation. LELT plans to enhance the existing pedestrian trails located on the property and has engaged local clubs to make sure that a snowmobile and ATV corridor on the property remains accessible.

This award adds to grant money already received from several other foundations, including the Fields Pond Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust and an anonymous foundation along with many donations from individuals in the community.

“We have received incredible support from the community for this conservation project,” says Matt Markot, LELT’s Executive Director. “In partnership with the Bridgton Historical Society, we are eager to protect this land. The site of a once prosperous and well known family farm in South Bridgton, it has incredible cultural, historical and ecological value. Once protected, this land will continue to benefit our community forever.”

LELT seeks to raise the rest of the money needed to purchase the property before a June 30th, 2019 deadline. To date, LELT has received 95% of the funds needs just another $17,000 to purchase the land. Private donations from individuals will be critical in achieving this goal. Complete information about the project, including maps and the option to donate online, can be found at www.lelt.org/pfw. Checks to support Peabody-Fitch Woods can also be sent to Loon Echo Land Trust, 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009.

Healthy Forests. Clean Water. Quality Beer.

Much of the land that drains to Sebago Lake is covered with forest. These forests act as a filter, naturally producing exceptional water quality. Yet only 10% of this forest is conserved – meaning development could eventually cause lower water quality and higher water treatment costs.  A new effort called Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is underway, linking the community to forest conservation – to protect our water, wildlife, and way of life.

Dozens of local breweries rely on this water, too. Beer is 90% water; delicious beer begins with outstanding water. Select breweries are collaborating with PWD, SCW, and Loon Echo Land Trust to provide beautiful slideshows and information in tasting rooms at various times throughout National Drinking Water Week (May 5 -11). Staff from these organizations will be available to answer questions at some locations. See where you can find us here.

Watch this video to learn more about the connection between forests and water quality:

Learn more about Sebago Clean Waters.

 

Celebrate Earth Day

For nearly 50 years, the celebration of Earth Day has inspired people around the world to protect our planet and build meaningful connections with nature. We can all take actions to ensure that our earth is resilient and beautiful for future generations. Learn what you can do below.

Take Action

Support land conservation with a donation to Loon Echo today

Volunteer at an Earth Day clean-up near you

Celebrate nature with a walk in the woods

  • Create meaningful connections with nature by spending time outside. For a list of our preserves, click here.
  • Join us for an Earth Day hike up Bald Pate Mountain on Monday, April 22nd from 5-7pm
  • Save the Date for the 2019 Loon Echo Trek on September 14th, 2019. Hike or run from Denmark to Bridgton over the ridge of Pleasant Mountain!

Learn More

About Conservation Options for your land

  • Do you own land? Learn more about how to protect it with a conservation easement or through donation to Loon Echo.

About our work to protect the Sebago Lake Watershed

  • Sebago Clean Waters is  partnership of 9 organizations working to protect the water,wildlife, and way of life in the Sebago Lake watershed.

Stay Connected with all things Loon Echo

 

 

Environmental Education Grants Awarded

(Bridgton, ME) Loon Echo Land Trust is helping children learn about their environment and the importance of protecting our region’s land and natural resources by awarding Environmental Education Grants to local educational institutions and libraries. 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.

This year Loon Echo has congratulated the following recipients of their 2019 Environmental Education Grants: Bridgton Public Library, Raymond Village Library, Naples Public Library, Spaulding Memorial Library in Sebago, Harrison Elementary School, and Sebago Elementary School.

Since 1998, hundreds of children have benefited from programs that teach about the natural world due to Loon Echo’s Environmental Educational Grants developed as a memorial to local teachers, Helen Allen and Polly Bartlett. Past recipients have used their grants for a host of outdoor activities such as bringing in expert speakers, creating naturalist backpacks and educational displays. For more information on the program’s history and application process visit www.lelt.org/programs

Timber Harvest at Woodsum Brook

(Harrison, ME) Loon Echo Land Trust is the proud owner & steward of 5,000 acres of 

land in the northern Sebago Lake region of Maine, all conserved for future generations to enjoy. With that ownership comes a huge amount of responsibility to leave the land better than we found it by enhancing plant and animal habitat, and protecting our precious waters. Timber management plays an important role in meeting these management goals. Under the direction of consulting foresters at Integrated Forest Management, Loon Echo has approved a small forestry operation at the 70-acre Woodsum Brook parcel in Harrison. 

The goals for this harvest are simple: create more structural and species diversity resulting in a more resilient forest, improve animal habitat by introducing more sunlight & allow for new young trees to grow (which leads to lots of new browsing opportunities), and enhance recreation opportunities like hunting and fishing. This operation is a cut to length style, which means all the tops and brush of the harvested trees will be left on site to create new habitat, feed the next generation of trees, and provide erosion control.

Please contact LELT Stewardship Manager Jon Evans if you would like to learn more about the role of forestry in responsible land management.

Loon Echo Land Trust Welcomes New Executive Director

Matt Markot (L) takes over as Loon Echo’s Executive Director from Thom Perkins (R).

(Bridgton, ME) On January 7th, Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) welcomed Matt Markot as its new Executive Director. Markot, who resides in Harrison, takes the lead for the conservation organization from retiring Executive Director Thom Perkins.

Most recently, Markot worked for LELT supporting the organization’s stewardship and conservation easement programs, in addition to organizing the 2018 Loon Echo Trek. He also worked as a part-time consultant through Sebago Clean Waters to support both Loon Echo and Western Foothills Land Trusts with their conservation efforts.

“Our board is thrilled to have Matt lead Loon Echo and we are looking forward to working with him to continue the positive impact that Loon Echo has on our community,” said Loon Echo Board President, David Diller as he welcomed Markot to his new role at the organization.

Mr. Markot brings a wealth of natural resource, conservation, and environmental education experience from years working around the state of Maine at places such as the Nature Conservancy, the Maine Natural Areas Program, and Kieve-Wavus Education Inc. Matt has strong family ties to the Bridgton area and grew up spending his summers on the shores of Moose Pond. A Registered Maine Guide and Wilderness First Responder, Matt enjoys skiing, hiking, camping and fishing.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to step into a new role in an organization that I have great respect for,” Markot said upon starting his first week as Executive Director. “The passion that Loon Echo’s board, staff, members, and volunteers bring to conservation work in our region inspires me to lead by their example. I intend to build upon Loon Echo’s strengths while keeping sight of the traditions that make protected land so integral to our way of life in the Lake Region.” 

Markot succeeds Thom Perkins, Loon Echo’s Executive Director from 2016-2018. Mr. Perkins will support the leadership transition by acting as Senior Advisor to the organization until the end of March. He will be assisting Mr. Markot in organizational management during the transition. During his tenure, Perkins finalized the organization’s Land Trust Alliance national accreditation, negotiated the donation of land for a new preserve on Highland Lake, negotiated and developed donated land for recreational access to Pleasant Mountain, acquired the technological tools needed to position the organization for the future, spearheaded additional conservation easement land, increased the capacity of the organization by increasing staff in mission critical areas, was instrumental in developing an organization to protect the region’s clean water and laid the groundwork for additional Loon Echo Land Trust conservation efforts.

“I am more than pleased that the Board of Directors selected Matt. I can’t think of a better candidate to take over this position and move Loon Echo into the future,” said Perkins, “there are a lot of exciting plans in the works and Matt’s the perfect person to press onwards.”

Loon Echo Land Trust will host a snowshoe walk of their latest project, Peabody-Fitch Woods on Saturday, January 26th at 9:00 am. The public will have an opportunity to meet the new Executive Director, explore the property and learn more about the project. More information on this event can be found at Loon Echo’s website, www.lelt.org.

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. Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic locations such as Bald Pate Mountain, Pleasant Mountain and Hacker’s Hill, and provide fun educational programs to the public. Loon Echo also assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.  

Loon Echo Receives Matching Gift Grant for Peabody-Fitch Woods

BRIDGTON, ME –   Loon Echo Land Trust has received a generous $50,000 grant from an anonymous foundation to match donations received for the acquisition of the Peabody-Fitch Woods, located in South Bridgton. This conservation effort forever protects the Bridgton Historical Society’s historic Narramissic Farm from development encroachment. The acquisition of 252 acres of land surrounding the 18th century farm reunites the original property and keeps its character intact. The land will create a new community space for recreation and educational programming, and protect valuable natural resources.

“The Peabody-Fitch project is one of great significance to the community,” says Loon Echo’s Stewardship Manager and South Bridgton resident Jon Evans. “It connects two large tracts of conserved land, ensures continued public access, and protects some of the region’s important cultural features. The Peabody and Fitch families left an amazing legacy and we are proud to not only protect their land, but honor their pioneering spirit in the process.”

Gifts of any amount to the project will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the grant funds from now until December 31st, 2018. A $10 donation towards the purchase becomes $20. A $50 gift becomes $100.  A $1,000 gift turns into $2,000.  To date, donations totaling $13,185 have been matched. LELT has received approximately 67% of the funds for the project and Loon Echo needs another $107,000 to complete the purchase. With a deadline for acquisition of December 31st, 2018, Loon Echo is seeking to raise the remaining funds from private individuals, public resources, and additional grants.

Donations to support Peabody-Fitch Woods can be sent to Loon Echo Land Trust, 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009 or made online at www.lelt.org/pfw.

An information session about the project will be held on Thursday, December 6th at 6:30 pm at the Loon Echo Office, 8 Depot St, Suite 4 in Bridgton. Staff from Loon Echo will also lead an informational snowshoe walk of the property on Saturday, December 8th from 9:00 – 11:00 am, with a weather date of Saturday December 15th.  Meet at Narramissic Farm, 46 Narramissic Rd, Bridgton, ME. Please bring your own snowshoes. Snowshoes are available, free of charge, by request. Email membership@lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

The 252 forested acres of the proposed Peabody-Fitch Woods are contiguous with the 1,617 acre Perley Mills Community Forest to the west. It is also in close proximity to five other conserved lands: Five Fields Farm, Bald Pate Preserve, two Town of Bridgton woodlots, Sebago Headwater’s Preserve, and Lakes Environmental Association’s Holt Pond Preserve. The purchase of the Peabody-Fitch Woods property by Loon Echo will preserve an extensive trail network that connects these conserved lands.

Loon Echo has plans to rehabilitate and expand the existing trail network located on the property. The property will be a haven for the public to forever enjoy traditional recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation. This project will also allow for enhanced educational and recreational opportunities for the community’s residents and area children.

 

Loon Echo Land Trust Seeking to Conserve Two High Value Properties

BRIDGTON, ME– Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) announced that two new land conservation projects are underway to conserve land for future generations.

The Peabody-Fitch Woods project, in partnership with the Bridgton Historical Society (BHS), will protect the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (also known as Narramissic) in South Bridgton through the acquisition of 252 acres of land surrounding the farm. The second project is the Edwards Forest in Harrison which expands by 38 acres Loon Echo’s Crooked River Intervale Preserve. With a deadline for acquisition of December 31st, 2018, LELT is seeking to raise funds from private individuals, public resources, and other foundations to acquire both the Peabody-Fitch Woods and the Edwards Forest.

A grant of $50,000 will match any gift made towards the Peabody-Fitch Woods project. Gifts of any amount to the project will be matched dollar-for-dollar from now until December 31st, 2018. To date, LELT has received approximately 60% of the funds for the Peabody-Fitch Woods project and needs another $138,000 to complete the purchase.

View looking North-West from PFW

The “Narramissic” farmhouse was donated to the Historical Society in 1986 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.  The property to be acquired by Loon Echo surrounds and preserves the original farmhouse.  Within the 252 acres is an 18th Century quarry where the granite used in the farm’s building foundations was sourced. The historical society has developed a guided historic hike to the quarry and has plans for new, innovative educational programs at the preserve. According to Ned Allen, Executive Director of BHS, “residential development of this land would clearly undermine such activities and threaten the important and special nature of Narramissic.”

The acquisition of this parcel will protect the historic farmstead by keeping the original property and its character intact and the land open to the public. It will allow the public to forever enjoy the traditional recreational opportunities that the land provides, including hunting, walking, and nature observation.

In addition to protecting the historic farmstead, the acquisition of Peabody-Fitch Woods is part of a greater Loon Echo Forest Connectivity initiative. Forest connectivity is a concept that recognizes that habitats and species function best as part of a large, interconnected network. The 252 acres of the proposed Peabody-Fitch Woods are contiguous with the Perley Mills Community Forest to the west, and is in close proximity to five other conserved lands that protect habitat and water quality.

The 38-acre Edwards Forest, located in Harrison, adds to the forest connectivity of the region as well. The property abuts Loon Echo’s Intervale Preserve, creating a contiguous 337 acres of conserved land along the Crooked River. This additional acreage protects important forestland and animal habitat, adds significant protections to valuable water resources, provides climate resilience and enhances recreational opportunities. Loon Echo has received approximately 34% of the necessary funds for the Edwards Forest Project and needs another $44,000 to complete the purchase.

With the forest acting as a natural filter for water, permanently protecting forested areas around the river is vital to maintaining the high water quality of the Crooked River and Sebago Lake. Protecting forestland along the Crooked River has been an important collaborative goal between Portland Water District, Loon Echo Land Trust, and the newly formed Sebago Clean Waters initiative. The Crooked River has been identified as a priority for conservation as it is the largest tributary to Sebago Lake (with 38% of the inflow to the lake), a drinking water source for 1 in 6 Mainers.

Stream along eastern boundary of the proposed Edwards Forest

“It is critical that we all help Loon Echo conserve the land that surrounds [the Crooked River and Sebago Lake],” says Portland Water District Environmental Manager Paul Hunt. “[LELT] will work hard to conserve the land and this will, in turn, protect our fisheries, natural waters, and drinking water for future generations.”

Besides sustaining regional water quality, the Edwards Forest will have valuable benefits for local residents. The Crooked River is home to one of Maine’s few indigenous landlocked salmon populations and the public will be allowed to hike, hunt, fish, snowmobile, walk, mountain bike, and horseback ride on the preserve. Preventing future development along the Crooked River will help maintain the unique wilderness-type experience it currently offers.

Donations for either project can be sent to Loon Echo Land Trust, 8 Depot Street Suite #4, Bridgton, ME 04009 or made online at www.lelt.org.

Loon Echo currently protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 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 locations such as Bald Pate Mountain, Hacker’s Hill and Pleasant 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.  Member support is what enables Loon Echo to carry out their mission and provides funding for their land conservation and stewardship endeavors. 

For more information about upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, visit their website www.lelt.org, call 207-647-4352 or visit their office, 8 Depot Street, Suite 4, Bridgton, ME Monday – Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00.

Loon Echo Land Trust’s New Pleasant Mountain Shelter Dedicated

 

BRIDGTON, ME (October 16, 2018) – Loon Echo Land Trust announced today that hikers will find a new destination on Pleasant Mountain thanks to the generosity of the Sharples family.  On Saturday October 13th, a new day-shelter was dedicated and officially opened on the North Peak of Pleasant Mountain, a short distance off North Ridge trail. 

“Loon Echo is honored to receive this shelter as a gift from the Sharples Family,” said Jon Evans, LELT’s Stewardship Manager, “I’m sure that hikers who visit the shelter will have a restful and serene experience.”

For a number of years, a day-shelter on Pleasant Mountain has been identified as a goal by Loon Echo’s Stewardship Committee and staff. With this need known, the shelter was generously donated by the Sharples family in memory of Janine Sharples, a longtime Bridgton resident who passed away in January of 2017. The dedication on Saturday transferred the shelter to Loon Echo Land Trust. The ceremony was attended by friends and family of Mrs. Sharples as well as Loon Echo staff, board representative and supporters.

The shelter will now officially be known as “Janine’s Overlook.” The shelter offers hikers a rest spot, surrounded by wild blueberries, where they can sit and enjoy exceptional views of Sebago Lake and Pleasant Mountain’s west flank.

“She loved to climb Pleasant Mountain and pick blueberries, so what better place to put a shelter,” added Ken Sharples. “After meeting with Loon Echo, a general idea of what the shelter should look like was arrived at.”

The shelter’s architectural design was influenced by the elegant Edwardian rest stops which are part of the Curtis Memorial in Northeast Harbor, Maine.

“When considering how this shelter would be used and the kind of experience we want hikers who use our trails, we wanted something that everyone would be proud of and enjoy,” said Loon Echo’s Executive Director Thom Perkins, “My experience of visiting the shelters in Northeast Harbor immediately came to mind. We talked it over and the Sharples’ architect came up with a beautiful design.”

“Janine’s Overlook” shelter was constructed using cedar materials by Chris Ambrose, of Ambrose Carpentry Remodeling & Home Repair. Shawnee Peak ski area staff assisted in moving the 3,000 lbs of materials 1,300 vertical feet up the mountain to within half a mile of the site. The Bridgton Academy football team moved the materials the rest of the way. Soon, new signs and markers will direct hikers to the shelter, which is located 150 feet off the North Ridge trail.