Archive for category: Conservation Story

BTLT in the News, “Merrymeeting Bay groups look to tackle farm labor shortage”

Merrymeeting Bay groups look to tackle farm labor shortage

By Sandy Stott

December 6, 2019

On December 16th, the Merrymeeting Food Council is hosting a roundtable that’s open to the public on Monday, December 16th.

A wide-ranging group of stakeholders from the Merrymeeting Bay area are getting together later this month to discuss ways to address the local farm labor shortage.

The Merrymeeting Food Council and University of Maine Cooperative Extension are hosting a roundtable Monday, Dec. 16, to discuss farm labor models, share resources and build a network focused on short and long-term solutions to a shortage of workers in the industry.

The council, based in Brunswick, represents 14 towns that surround Merrymeeting Bay, including Richmond, Dresden, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Woolwich, Bath, Topsham, Brunswick, West Bath, Arrowsic, Westport, Harpswell, Phippsburg and Georgetown. The group is a collaborative network of farms, fisheries, businesses, nonprofits, government and individuals working together to advance the food system in the region.

Planning partners for the event besides the food council include area farmers and representatives of Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative; Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; the Maine Department of Labor; Land for Good; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

To read the rest of the recent article, click here.

To register for the Roundtable or learn more about the Merrymeeting Food Council, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Canoeing in Maine: Exploring Woodward Point in Brunswick”

Canoeing in Maine: Exploring Woodward Point in Brunswick

By Michael Perry

November 10, 2019

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust recently conserved Woodward Point Preserve in Brunswick. This property is open to the public and has fantastic water access; not only can you enjoy the view of the New Meadows River from land, but you can paddle around the point as well.The Portland Press Herald’s Michael Perry recently wrote about a November paddle around Woodward Point complete with tips and tricks on how to maximize your time on the water.

We basked in the mid-morning sun and gazed down the New Meadows River toward the brilliant yellows of maples and golden browns of oaks at the end of Foster Point. We heard the voices of a couple coming down through the woods to the shore. The husband summed up the spot perfectly, “a good place to bring a picnic.”

The preserve is a recent collaboration of Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, made possible by the generosity of the Cook-Ellis family who farmed the property for many years. Nearly two miles of clearly marked trails meander through green meadows and through pine, hemlock and oak forests. It seemed odd walking through a preserve with the call of chickadees, blue jays and crows mixing with the sound of gulls. One of the meadow trails swings by a picturesque farm pond displaying artistic reflections of the pines bordering the pond. The white flowers of yarrow mixed with the yellow of dandelions and purple of clover. We even found a few strawberry blossoms. Was it really November?

To read the rest of the recent article in the Portland Press Herald, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Land trusts celebrate the opening of Brunswick’s Woodward Point”

Land trusts celebrate the opening of Brunswick’s Woodward Point

By Hannah LaClaire

September 30, 2019

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust celebrated the opening of Woodward Point Preserve on Saturday, September 28th. This new preserve is now open to the public, boasting 87 acres of forests, fields, meadows, and over two miles of shoreline along two peninsulas on the New Meadows River in Brunswick.

Countless porcupines, bobolinks, shellfish and butterflies have enjoyed Brunswick’s Woodward Point for years, and now the town’s human residents can enjoy the area’s natural beauty as well.

More than 100 people turned out to explore the 87 acres of sprawling meadows, forested trails and rocky coastline to help the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust officially open the preserve and celebrate the culmination of a two-year effort to conserve the parcel.

The trusts raised $3.5 million to purchase the land and provide for its long-term management as a public preserve, including $150,000 from Brunswick in January, a $400,000 grant from the state’s Land for Maine’s Future Program, and $570,000 from a federal Coastal Wetlands grant.

That access to has been touted as one of the particular benefits of the property. While Brunswick’s coastline isn’t exactly composed of white sandy beaches, the land trusts hope the preserve will be a place where families can come swim, kayak, fish and enjoy the water, said Caitlin Gerber, a land steward for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.The land includes roughly 1.5 miles of trails and more than 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove that features four places with water access. Dogs are allowed in the preserve and must be leashed.

To read the rest of the recent article in the Portland Press Herald, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Topsham seeks funding for Head of Tide Park improvements”

Topsham seeks funding for Head of Tide Park improvements

By Alex Lear

July 23, 2019

Head of Tide Park is Topsham’s first waterfront park. The Park is located at the Cathance River’s head of tide, or the furthest upstream that the tide impacts the river and is home to a 15-foot waterfall, trail head, picnic pavilions, and hand-carry boat launch to access the lower, or tidal section of the river.  The town of Topsham is hoping to improve this space, though, with better parking and a hand-carry boat launch.

The Portland Press Herald recently covered these proposed improvements in a story by Alex Lear.

The town is seeking $55,000 in grants from the state to improve parking and build a hand-carry boat launch at Head of Tide Park.

The Board of Selectmen on July 18 unanimously authorized Town Manager Rich Roedner to apply for the funding, which is available through the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Boating Facilities Fund.

The total project would cost $73,000; $18,000, or 25%, would be provided by the town – $10,000 from the current budget and $8,000 from in-kind work by Public Works, according to Town Planner Rod Melanson.

The 12-acre Cathance River park, at 235 Cathance Road, is owned by the town and stewarded by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. It offers a 15-foot waterfall at the river’s highest tidal reach, hand-carry boat access on either side of the falls, a trailhead that connects to more than 7 miles of trails, and picnic and parking areas.

Click here to read more!

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick land deal had happy ending”

Brunswick land deal had happy ending

Tim Glidden & Angela Twitchell

June 16, 2019

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust recently acquired Woodward Point, a property totaling 87 acres along the New Meadows River. The property was discussed in another CentralMaine.com article earlier this month and thus, Tim Glidden, the President of MCHT, and Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of BTLT, wrote to expand the reader’s understanding of this exciting update.

We read Douglas Rooks’ column (“Conservation land a big draw,” June 6) with great interest and were pleased to see that the town of Wayne is considering expanding its publicly accessible waterfront. We are writing to share the full picture of the example in Brunswick that Rooks cited.

While the town’s decision to sell a tax-foreclosure property was the source of some local controversy, the story has a happy ending. The town reserved a significant portion of the sale proceeds, dedicating them to improving public access to Brunswick’s coast, an opportunity that is in particularly short and shrinking supply on the Maine coast. With generous and enthusiastic financial support from the town, our organizations, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, came together to acquire and conserve 87 acres on the New Meadows River that provides public access to two miles of coastline, including highly productive clam flats. Community divided no longer!

We’d also draw your readers attention to the recommendations of a recent statewide Land Conservation Task Force, maineconservationtaskforce.com) released earlier this year. The 1986 effort referenced by Mr. Rooks led to the creation of the Land for Maine’s Future Program now popular across all of Maine that has assisted communities like Brunswick to conserve the cherished lands and waters that form the basis of Maine’s economy and quality of life.

The new report stresses the importance of community-led land conservation efforts like those in Wayne and Brunswick. Even as we write, the Legislature is considering a major new Land for Maine’s Future bond to support implementation of the task force recommendations.

We agree with Mr. Rooks: “Effectively combining conservation with economic development may not be the whole answer, but it’s surely a good place to start.”

Click to link to article on CentralMaine.com

BTLT in the News, “Your Land: In Brunswick, a ‘Common’ purpose”

Your Land: In Brunswick, a ‘Common’ purpose”

The Times Record

By Sandy Stott

May 3, 2019

May marks the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons. Since mid-April, organizations in Brunswick have worked together to celebrate this exciting anniversary with walks, talks, and even a film made by students from Brunswick High School’s Film Department. In a recent article in the Times Record, Sandy Stott recounts the joy and light the film brought to one of Maine’s oldest conserved areas.

May is our expansive month. Leaves unfurl, waters warm, our woods are flecked with flowers at our feet. Perhaps no bloom says better, “It’s time to walk” than the lady’s-slipper, or moccasin flower. This foot- (and heart-) shaped blossom is our native orchid, and, where our woods are undisturbed, it can be legion. Brunswick’s Town Commons, with its 300-year legacy of being “saved” land, offers these wild orchids by the tens; sometimes during a walk I can count hundreds.

I thought of this the other night, when I was taken for a filmic walk in those Commons. Created by co-directors Ania Johnston and Josh Flanagan and other students from Brunswick High School’s Film Department, Uncommon Ground, pays lyrical tribute to this core of our town. Settled back among 200 others in the school’s Crooker Theater, I followed the film down familiar trails, and paused with it for appreciative close-ups of pines and ferns and mosses. It was all enlivening and soothing.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

To learn what events are left to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Guest column: Finding common ground for the common good”


Guest column: Finding common ground for the common good 
February 01, 2019
By Angela Twitchell, Executive Director, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust 
and Tim Glidden, President, Maine Coast Heritage Trust 

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have been working together to conserve Woodward Point, an 87-acre property with over 2 miles of shorefront and plentiful opportunities for recreation. Now, with the help of the Brunswick Town Council, we are closer than ever to achieving our goal of conserving this very special property.

We have both lived in the Brunswick-Topsham area for decades and have chosen to build our careers here, raise our children here, and participate in the civic life of our community through municipal committees and the support of many local nonprofits and community groups. We love this area and are proud to call it home, but we have never been more proud to be members of this community than we were last Thursday evening when the Brunswick Town Council voted unanimously to contribute $150,000 toward the conservation of the 87-acre Woodward Point property.  If conserved by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), this property will offer 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove in East Brunswick and will create ample opportunities for free outdoor recreation, water access, nature-based education as well as the protection of natural resources including some of Brunswick’s most productive clam flats. 


This vote was a shining example of how our community can unite by working together for common goals—and an example of how the land holds potential to bring us together. Our Town Council (representing diverse political viewpoints) found common ground for the common good. 

The Times Record, February 1

Click here to read the rest of this guest column.