MOUNT DESERT — Fulfilling his long-standing plans for his Seal Harbor property, David Rockefeller Sr. is scheduled to announce on Friday that he will contribute Little Long Pond and approximately 1,000 acres of fields, woodlands, carriage roads, streams and hiking trails surrounding the pond, to the Mt. Desert Land and Garden Preserve.
The tract is one of the largest privately-held parcels on Mount Desert Island.
Rockefeller, international banker and philanthropist, who has summered in Seal Harbor since his birth on June 12, 1915, decided to announce the transfer as part of his 100th birthday celebration. Rockefeller’s parents purchased their first home in Seal Harbor in 1910.
For decades carriage roads and hiking trails on the land, which abuts Acadia National Park, have been open to the public. While bicycling is allowed only with permission, the Rockefeller family has allowed people to walk dogs on the land off leash. Unleashed dog are not allowed in Acadia.
Rockefeller said, “This magnificent state and its wonderful residents have been such an integral part of my family’s history. It is my hope that the public should forever benefit from this beloved tract of land. I am delighted to make this gift to all the people of Maine.”
Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, Chair of the Board of the Mt. Desert Land and Garden Preserve, said, “My father’s generosity will ensure that Little Long Pond and the beautiful land and trails around it will always be open to public access for walking, hiking, horseback riding, and the other outdoor activities that are an important part of the allure of the beautiful state of Maine. What a grand and appropriate way for this wonderful man to celebrate his 100th birthday.”
The land to be transferred will stretch from the Preserve’s present property on Eliot Mountain, eastward to Barr Hill and the Stanley Brook Road, with the exception of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden and some other properties, which will be made public in the future. The transfer of the 1,000 acres is contemplated to be completed this summer.
The Mt. Desert Land and Garden Preserve is a 501 (c) (3) public charity, governed by a 25-member board of directors, with a mission of “preserving, for public enjoyment, the aesthetic and spiritual heritage of certain horticultural and natural landscapes on Mount Desert Island.”
The Preserve operates, in addition to various buildings and other structures, two gardens in Northeast Harbor, built by life-long Northeast Harbor resident Charles K. Savage, who preserved the plant collection of Beatrix Farrand, the renowned landscape architect, with financial support from David Rockefeller’s father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.