Posts Tagged ‘Loon Echo Land Trust’

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.

 

 

Loon Echo Land Trust Holds 31st Annual Meeting

BRIDGTON, ME (August 22, 2018) – Loon Echo Land Trust held its 31st Annual Meeting at the Bridgton Historical Society’s historic Peabody-Fitch “Narramissic” Farm in South Bridgton on Sunday August 19th.  Over 70 members and supporters gathered to celebrate the successes of the area’s land trust and to conduct the business of electing Board of Directors and to enjoy a bountiful buffet dinner spread out in the farm’s Temperance Barn.

The afternoon festivities started with a guided walk to the farm’s late 1700’s granite quarry, continued with the cooperation of the Bridgton Historical Society’s tours of the Farmhouse

LELT’s 31st Annual Meeting takes a walk through history. photo by Brien Richards

and out buildings complete with costumed guides and demonstrations of the farm’s original blacksmith shop with the resident blacksmith working the forge and explaining the process. The annual meeting included a keynote address by Whit Whitney, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Land Trust Program Director entitled “The current state of land trust across Maine” in which he told of the successes of Maine’s land trusts and how Loon Echo, an accredited organization, plays an important part in Maine’s conservation efforts.

After introductions by LELT’s President David Diller, the gathered members approved the Secretary’s minutes and heard from Treasurer Bob Gowdy of Denmark, and elected the Board of Directors.  New members joining the organization’s board include Carrye Castleman-Ross, Melissa Rock and Sven Cole, all residents of Bridgton.  Re-elected to the board were Sheila Bourque (of Raymond); Connie Cross (Casco), Karen Eller (Bridgton), Bob Gowdy (Denmark & Weston, MA), Carol Sudduth Denmark), and Dick Lemieux (Raymond). Eric Dibner (Casco) and David Diller (Bridgton) will continue on the board.  Retiring members Ed Friedman, Allen Erler and Norm Nichols

Dinner in the Temperance Barn. photo by Brien Richards

on were warmly thanked for their years of service to the conservation efforts on behalf of the seven communities served by Loon Echo Land Trust.

In his statement to the gathering, Loon Echo’s Executive Director, Thom Perkins expressed the importance of continuing involvement conservation efforts for future generations.

“The hard work, however, is imbedded in our organizational name: “Loon Echo Land Trust”.  The operative word is “Trust”.  The public “Trusts” us to preserve, care for and defend the lands under our charge.  It was, is and will be the first responsibility of our extraordinary past, current and future Board of Directors, our staff and you, our members.  We work every day to maintain the public’s “trust” and to defend the lands that we own and the conservation easements that we hold,” said Perkins, “Your conservation efforts are an enduring gift.  I invite you all to stay engaged, spread the word and enjoy all that you have achieved.”

Loon Echo is currently engaged in the acquisition of the 252 acres surrounding the Bridgton Historical Society’s farmstead.  Donations to support the purchase can be mailed to: LELT, 8 Depot Street suite #4, Bridgton, ME  04009.

Loon Echo 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 gems 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, go to their website www.lelt.org or call 207-647-4352.   

 

 

Loon Echo Land Trust Welcomes New Executive Director

On April 11th Loon Echo Land Trust welcomed Thom Perkins as the organization’s new Executive Director.  Perkins comes to the land trust with a wide variety of skills built from developing a grass roots organization into the largest nonprofit nordic trail network in the eastern United States.  He was selected from many candidates for his extensive knowledge of land use, easements, development, marketing and public relations, legislative involvement, event management and nonprofit organization.

Loon Echo’s President David Diller (r) welcome’s Thom Perkins (l)

Loon Echo’s President David Diller (r) welcome’s Thom Perkins (l)

“Our board is thrilled to have Thom with his extensive background join the Loon Echo family and we are looking forward to working with him and continuing the positive impact that Loon Echo has on our community,” said Loon Echo Board President, David Diller as he welcomed Perkins to the organization.

Perkins is looking forward to continuing Loon Echo’s current land projects and helping landowners and communities develop future project opportunities in the region.

Perkins comes to Loon Echo with a background in conservation and land use and easements while working with many landowners in developing and preserving the trail network.  His strengths of working with staff, marketing and operation management are expected to benefit the organization in advancing its strong growth.  Coming into the organization, one of Perkins’ first goals is to focus on Loon Echo’s positive effect on the communities and to make a beneficial impact on residents and visitors’ lives and on their lands.

Upon his starting week with Loon Echo Perkins said, “I’m energized about the opportunity to help lead Loon Echo Land Trust into the future and to let people know about the good work that Loon Echo does for the communities in its service areas.”

Perkins succeeded Carrie Walia, Loon Echo’s Executive Director from 2008 through the spring of 2016, and she is serving as Senior Advisor to the organization prior to her family’s relocation to Wisconsin this summer.