Generous Match Offered for All Donations to Finalize Tiger Hill Community Forest in Sebago
Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) have received a generous $100,000 anonymous grant to match new donations for the protection of 1,400 acres of undeveloped land in the town of Sebago.
To date, we’ve raised nearly $1.3 million to purchase and protect the property. We are seeking to raise an additional $286,000 needed to purchase the property by the end of the year. Once conserved by the trust, the property will be known as Tiger Hill Community Forest, in recognition of the land’s most prominent peak.
The land is to be owned and managed by Loon Echo on behalf of the community. It protects sensitive wildlife habitat and historic working forestland, and will be open to the public for recreation.
“The property is currently used by local community members for hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, snowmobiling, and other activities,” stated the Sebago Board of Selectmen in a letter of support. “Acquiring the property for conservation and recreation will secure these close-to-home recreation opportunities for Sebago residents and visitors.”
While still largely rural, Sebago and surrounding towns have experienced more than twice the population growth rate of the state as a whole. Conservation of natural areas like the Tiger Hill Community Forest will help to maintain the region’s rural charm while benefiting the local tourism, outdoor recreation, and forest products industries.
We are partnering with TPL in the fundraising effort to acquire the property. Both LELT and TPL are partners in Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), a partnership working to conserve 35,000 acres in the Sebago Lake watershed to protect the water quality of Sebago Lake, the water source for over one-sixth of Maine residents, many visitors, and businesses in the greater Portland area. Portland Water District (PWD), who is also a partner in SCW, has pledged $345,000 towards the project. The Maine Drinking Water Program is providing a low-interest loan to PWD to fund its contribution.
“Tiger Hill Community Forest provides countless public benefits, including protection of drinking water for a sixth of Maine’s population. Its forests act as a filter, purifying water as it flows into rivers, streams, and, ultimately, Sebago Lake. Conserving this forest means Mainers will enjoy the benefits forever. We are excited for the residents of the town of Sebago and will continue to support projects like this in the Sebago Lake watershed.”Paul Hunt, PWD Environmental Manager
We have raised approximately 80% of the funds for the project, but need to raise another $286,000 to complete the purchase and care for the land forever. Donations of any amount to the project will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the matching grant. For example, a $10 donation towards the purchase becomes $20, $50 becomes $100, and $1,000 becomes $2,000.
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 7,000 acres of land and manages 31 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. TPL has protected nearly 200,000 acres in Maine and has helped more than 30 towns acquire and create Community Forests. To learn more, visit tpl.org/our-work/maine.
Sebago Clean Waters (SCW) is a collaborative effort of nine conservation organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. SCW’s goal is to protect 25 percent (35,000 more acres) of the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years. To learn more, visit sebagocleanwaters.org.