Land conservation

To the Editor:

Land conservation in Maine has benefited from bipartisan support for decades. As a local land conservation organization serving the public from the Union River east to the Hancock County line, Frenchman Bay Conservancy welcomes the opportunity to share the benefits that our organization provides to our communities, with the generous support of roughly 900 members.

Now in our 31st year of operation, FBC has conserved 7,400 acres, and we maintain over 25 miles of trail where access is free and open to the public year-round.

Cooperating with local communities is a key part of our work at Frenchman Bay Conservancy. In collaboration with many local partners, FBC is currently helping develop a community-driven initiative: the Ellsworth Green Plan. By engaging with groups like the Garden Club of Ellsworth, representatives from the city government, Healthy Acadia and numerous other partners, we will help Ellsworth become a healthier place to live, a safer place to walk and bike, and a more beautiful, enjoyable and sustainable community.

Back in 2010, we partnered with the city of Ellsworth to conserve nearly 450 acres around the city’s drinking water supply, Branch Lake. This city-owned land is under easement to Frenchman Bay Conservancy, and it provides an excellent opportunity for hunting and outdoor recreation just a short drive from downtown Ellsworth.

The town of Lamoine recently partnered with our organization to conserve a locally important water access point. Marlboro Beach, with extraordinarily productive mud flats especially valuable to wormers and clammers, was purchased by the town in large part with funds raised by FBC. Now the property is publically owned with a conservation easement held by FBC, ensuring the beach and its tidal mud flats will be open to the public forever.

In addition to providing public access to land and water, land trust conserved properties serve as community gathering places. At our Salt Pond Preserve in Hancock, schoolchildren learn about tides and trees firsthand. This past October, at the Jordan Homestead property in Ellsworth — FBC is raising funds to transform this property into a preserve. — visitors learned about Ellsworth’s shipbuilding history and the region’s rich farming heritage. On Mondays during the summer, our flagship Tidal Falls Preserve in Hancock becomes a venue for local musicians to showcase their talents to hundreds of visitors, free of charge, and in front of the majestic reversing falls.

Aaron Dority

Frenchman Bay Conservancy

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