Posts Tagged ‘Sebago Clean Waters’

252 Acres Conserved in South Bridgton

(August 8th, 2019) After a major fundraising effort, Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is excited to announce that we have purchased and protected 252 acres of forestland surrounding Bridgton Historical Society’s Narramissic Farm in South Bridgton. 

“We received incredible support from the community for this conservation project,” says Matt Markot, Loon Echo Land Trust’s (LELT) Executive Director. “The site of a once prosperous and well known family farm in South Bridgton, this land has great cultural, historical and ecological significance. We’ve chosen to call this land ‘Peabody-Fitch Woods’ in honor of the families who settled and farmed here. Now protected, this land will continue to benefit our community forever.”

Narramissic Historic Farm

The forest was originally part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (now called Narramissic), which was established in 1797, just three years after Bridgton was incorporated. Margaret Monroe purchased the property in 1938. She left the farm buildings and fields to Bridgton Historical Society when she passed away in 1986.

Monroe’s daughter, Margaret “Peg” Normann, spent many of her summers at Narramissic and owned the 252 forested acres surrounding the farmstead. Peg passed away on June 11th, 2019.

“Loon Echo’s permanent conservation of this land is a fitting tribute to her love for the farm that she knew for so much of her life,” said the Bridgton Historical Society in a statement.

“We are thrilled to see the dreams that our mother and grandmother had – to make Narramissic and the surrounding land a place for others to enjoy – coming to fruition,” said Kristin (Normann) Mudge, daughter of Peg Normann and grandaughter of Margaret Monroe. “They would be so pleased! My siblings and I are excited and grateful that Loon Echo Land Trust and the Bridgton Historical Society are greeting this new venture with such energy and enthusiasm, and that our family’s beloved farm will forever remain intact.”

The Normann Family’s decision to conserve the property is noteworthy. Ned Allen, Bridgton Historical Society’s Executive Director, notes the significance of conserving the land surrounding the farmstead. “One of the most important components of Narramissic’s historic significance is its isolation from contemporary architectural and landscape features.”

Peabody-Fitch Woods is in close proximity to other conserved lands including Perley Mills Community Forest, Five Fields Farm, Bald Pate Preserve, two Town of Bridgton woodlots, Sebago Headwaters Preserve, and Holt Pond Preserve.

Under our ownership and management, Peabody-Fitch Woods will never be developed, but the property will remain on the municipal tax roll. This acquisition also secures public access for recreational opportunities including hunting, walking, and nature observation. We will enhance the existing pedestrian trails located on the property and work with local clubs to ensure that a snowmobile and ATV corridor on the property remains accessible.

We will construct a new universal access trail over the next year that will take visitors on a walk through time. When completed, the trail will provide glimpses into the farm’s agricultural past and vistas of westerly mountains. Informational signs along the universal access trail will provide insight into the Peabody and Fitch families’ pioneering efforts. 

“The Peabody, Fitch, Monroe and Normann families left an amazing legacy,” says LELT’s Stewardship Manager and South Bridgton resident Jon Evans, “We [LELT] are proud to now have the responsibility of protecting and managing this land forever.”

Peabody-Fitch Woods will also support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activity. We are collaborating with the Bridgton Historical Society to plan new collaborative events that will take advantage of access to the farm and the woods.

Walking from the fields of Narramissic towards Peabody-Fitch Woods. Photo by Brien Richards.

The conservation of Peabody-Fitch Woods also increases forest connectivity, provides valuable wildlife habitat, and aids in the protection of the Sebago Lake watershed. Seventy-five percent of the forest is located within the Sebago Lake watershed, prompting Portland Water District to make a significant contribution to the project. “Forests filter water naturally, so these woods will help keep Sebago Lake – and all the ponds and streams between the property and Sebago Lake – clean forever. This is why our company is so supportive of Loon Echo’s work,” says Portland Water District Environmental Manager Paul Hunt.

We also received generous support from many community members, charitable foundations (including The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, Kendal C. and Anna Ham Charitable Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust and an anonymous family foundation) and Sebago Clean Waters for this project. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped conserve this special place.

We invite you to join us for a sunset concert with Bruce Marshall at Narramissic Farm on Wednesday, August 14th at 6:00 PM to celebrate the conservation of Peabody-Fitch Woods. Bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic for a fun evening outdoors. Carpooling is advised. Suggested donation of $10/person with proceeds to benefit Peabody-Fitch Woods and the Bridgton Historical Society.

More information about Peabody-Fitch Woods can be found at www.lelt.org/pfw.

 

38 Acres Conserved in Harrison, Expanding Crooked River Forest

Bridgton, ME. Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is pleased to announce an expansion of their Crooked River Forest at Intervale with the purchase of 38 acres of forested land in Harrison. The acquisition brings the total acreage of the conserved forest there to 334.

Tributary to the Crooked River flows through the newly conserved property.

The Crooked River Forest at Intervale allows public access for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling (on designated trails), skiing, and mountain biking. Preventing future development along the Crooked River through forestland conservation will ensure public access for recreation on the river and its surrounding forests.

“Protecting the Crooked River and local forests is critical to the health of rural economies in western Maine,” said Matt Markot, LELT Executive Director. “Conservation land in this area sustains and creates jobs in tourism, outdoor recreation, and forestry.”

In addition to protecting important wildlife habitat and providing recreation opportunities, this land purchase is a big deal for clean water in southern Maine. 

The Crooked River is the largest tributary into Sebago Lake, Maine’s second largest lake and the primary source of clean drinking water for 200,000 people – one-sixth of all Mainers – who live or work in 11 communities in the Portland area. Protecting forestland along the Crooked River has been an important collaborative goal between Portland Water District and Loon Echo Land Trust for many years. 

“Sebago Lake and the Crooked River mean so much to so many people,” said Paul Hunt, Portland Water District’s Environmental Manager. “The lake is the water supply for 1 in 6 Mainers and the river is its most important tributary. Together they support one of the few landlocked salmon fisheries in Maine.”

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. The Crooked River – and larger Sebago Lake – watershed has been identified as a priority for forestland conservation.

Land conservation in the Sebago Lake watershed is the focus of Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), a collaborative initiative formed in 2017. Sebago Clean Waters aims to conserve another 35,000 acres in the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years in order in order to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and the health of fish and wildlife. Local SCW partners include Loon Echo Land Trust, Lakes Environmental Association and the Western Foothills Land Trust. Other SCW partners provided funding for this project including The Nature Conservancy in Maine, Portland Water District, and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.

 

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a member supported, non-profit land trust that works to protect the natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations. Loon Echo conserves over 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. To learn more about Loon Echo Land Trust visit www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.

Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is a collaborative effort of nine organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and the health of fish and wildlife in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. SCW’s goal is to protect 35,000 more acres in the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years (to conserve 25% of the watershed). To learn more, visit www.sebagocleanwaters.org.