Preserve is quiet force

land-and-garden-preserve-logoNot unlike the work of bees in a garden, people are seldom aware of the efforts of the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve, although the results of their labors bloom spectacularly front and center every year.

The mission of the Land and Garden Preserve is “to preserve, for public enjoyment, the aesthetic and spiritual heritage of certain horticultural and natural landscapes on Mount Desert Island.”

Working from a modest office in Seal Harbor, the preserve, formerly known as the Island Foundation, oversees the spectacular Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor. The group also maintains the trails and landscapes of the lands between those gardens and honors individuals who have contributed to shaping and preserving the unique landscapes of Mount Desert Island.

In addition to holding educational programs such as lantern strolls and butterfly releases, the preserve also maintains a small library of mission-related books and papers.

According to preserve director Carole Plenty, the name of the organization was changed in 2003 to better reflect the full breadth of its responsibilities.

“People only thought of us as gardeners,” she explained.

She continued, that unlike other organizations that look to foster change and growth, the preserve is more focused on tradition and “cultivating and preserving your past.”

“It’s about history. It involves so many people and so many connections,” she said.

In expressing gratitude for David Rockefeller’s gift to the preserve of 1,000 acres around Little Long Pond, Plenty said she looks forward to working to continue to help people enjoy the lands they have had access to for generations.

No changes to access or use policies are planned, she said.


Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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