Archive for category: In the News

BTLT in the News, “Land trusts working to preserve 300 years of open space conservation in Brunswick despite push for development”

Land trusts working to preserve 300 years of open space conservation in Brunswick despite push for development

The Times Record

By Hannah LaClaire

May 17, 2019

Conservation has always been an important piece of our community. Check out the recent article in the Times Record about how we have, and continue to, cherish our open spaces.

The Brunswick Town Commons, one of Maine’s earliest preserved tracts of open space, is celebrating its 300th year at a time when the town is under pressure to develop as continued growth in larger towns like Portland and Lewiston pushes some people and businesses into communities like Brunswick.

Whether it’s a walk on the trails, a bike ride after work or a weekend afternoon kayaking, open space is “that backdrop of our lives,” said Steve Walker, town councilor and project manager for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

Open space is just what it sounds like — land that a municipality has consciously decided not to develop. The town defines it as land that provides “scenic beauty and proximity to the natural world,” but “it means different things to different people,” according to Walker. It can also be farmland, space for recreation like trails, access to the waterfronts, large parks or even “pocket parks” like the downtown mall. “Communities that make those intentional decisions, those are the communities people want to live in,” he said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Town celebrates 300th anniversary of Town Commons, notes early impact on Brunswick development”

Town celebrates 300th anniversary of Town Commons, notes early impact on Brunswick development

The Times Record

By Hannah LaClaire

May 9, 2019

Celebrations are underway for the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons. In a recent article in the Times Record, local writer Hannah LaClaire details the history of the area and the importance of the Commons to our community.

The Brunswick Town Commons, a “little corner” of town with a big impact on Brunswick’s history, is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, marked by seven full weeks of activities and events.

The Commons, often confused with the Brunswick town mall, according to Fred Koerber, a member of the town commons committee, is a 71-acre chunk of what was once 1,000 acres given to the town in 1719 by the Pejepscot Company “to ly in general comonage.”

One of the earliest conserved open spaces in Maine, the land was also used to help draw both Bowdoin College and the United States Navy to town.

Bowdoin College was given 200 acres to start the college, and the Navy was given land to build the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, where they helped train British World War II pilots, Koerber said. When the Navy left decades later they were unable to give back the original land, he said, but instead gave the town the Kate Furbish Preserve.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

For a schedule of events celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons, click here.

BTLT in the News, “300th anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons is underway, activities planned”


300th anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons is underway, activities planned

Bangor Daily News

May 10, 2019

The 300th Anniversary of the Brunswick Town Commons is well underway, with the formal ceremony to be held this Sunday, May 19th! Check out the recent piece in the Bangor Daily News for more information about what’s to come…

The Town of Brunswick began a 7-week celebration of the 300th anniversary of The Brunswick Town Commons, one of the very oldest conserved open spaces in Maine, on April 23. A full day of activities, including a formal anniversary ceremony, with be held on May 19, to highlight the weeks worth of events. The full schedule can be found on the Pejepscot Historical Society’s website, the Town of Brunswick’s website and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust website.

In May of 1719 the Pejepscot Company “granted one thousand acres of land to ly in general comonage.”  Over time, pieces of the property have been repurposed for other use, most notably by the US Navy in order to build the former naval air station and by Bowdoin College.  The current property offers over 71 acres with numerous trails running through diverse and ecologically unique terrain. The Brunswick Town Commons also frequently serves as a community recreation space and outdoor classroom for Brunswick schools.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

To see a full schedule of events, click here.

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, “A life of quiet generosity”

 

A life of quiet generosity

The Times Record

By David Treadwell

An lovely article was recently written by David Treadwell in The Times Record about a kind person who generously gives back to the community that he calls home.

You wouldn’t expect a global company that serves the neuroscience community to be headquartered in rural Maine. And you wouldn’t expect that company to provide a daycare facility and community gym right on-site. And you wouldn’t expect the owner of such a company to eschew the let’s-position-the-company-to-go-public-or-be-bought-out-so-we-can-make-millions mindset of today’s entrepreneurs.

Click here to read the whole article!

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick project tests Topsham scout’s paperwork, bridge-building skills”

Brunswick project tests Topsham scout’s paperwork, bridge-building skills

Patti McDonald, March 26, 2019

Sam Hughes, a local Eagle Scout, completed a bridge at the end of Jack’s Trail at BTLT’s Chase Reserve last fall. Through challenges in the paperwork to the excitement of building, Patti McDonald at The Forecaster recently covered the story.

Some teenagers are buried in their electronic devices or concerned with the next social media challenge.

Not 15-year-old Sam Hughes.

Hughes, a sophomore at Mt. Ararat High School, revels in his time outdoors and appreciates nature. He said his love for the outdoors is the reason he decided to join the Boy Scouts when he was 6 years old.

Hughes, who lives in Topsham, has been in the Boy Scouts for nine years and has already achieved the Eagle Scout rank, the organization’s highest achievement. He completed his service project last fall: a bridge he built at the end of Jack’s Trail on Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Chase Reserve on Bunganuc Road in Brunswick. The trail connects BTLT’s trail with Freeport Conservation Trust’s Antoinette Jackman Trail.

Click here to read more about Sam’s project!

BTLT in the News, “Fat Biking in Brunswick”

On February 10, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust teamed up with Six Rivers NEMBA, Midcoast Conservancy, and the Merrymeeting Wheelers for a group fat tire mountain bike ride at Neptune Woods. Over 40 people attended and many ended up at the Brews for a Cause Fundraiser to benefit BTLT hosted by Flight Deck Brewing on Brunswick Landing.

Bikers before the ride.

Patrick Gabrion posted about the ride on the cycling blog, Pedal 2 Page, covering the event.

I heard one participant say, “I love these trails,” and that was the sentiment expressed by many others. Here’s my take on the four miles of loops:

* Well groomed and the abundance of trees kept icy conditions to a minimum
* Wooden bridges, not too many and short, were wide enough that they didn’t create freak-out moments
* Well marked
* Ample parking
* Despite the occasional plane taking off at the nearby airport, the wooded area was quiet and peaceful

BTLT reached out to Six Rivers NEMBA to run Sunday’s ride. In the end, the event represented a collaboration between BTLT, Six Rivers, the Merrymeeting Wheelers and the Midcoast Conservancy, which provided 20 fat bikes to loan to participants.

“The number of participants was staggering,” said Lawrence Kovacs, president of Six Rivers NEMBA.

Pedal 2 Page

Click here to read the whole post!

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.

BTLT in the News, “Fat bikes keep outdoor enthusiasts active, even in winter “


Fat bikes keep outdoor enthusiasts active, even in winter
January 30
Chris Quattrucci

The Times Record covered the growing trend of fat biking last week and mentioned our upcoming event on February 10.

Curious about trying it out for yourself? Join us this Sunday at Neptune Woods on Brunswick Landing for a group ride led by Six Rivers NEMBA. For registrants without bikes, Midcoast Conservancy who will bring 20 fat bikes to loan out. There is still space available for this FREE event. Click HERE to register today!

A growing group of locals are hoping to stay fit on fat bikes this winter, even as the offroad trails they traverse are covered with snow and ice.
 
Fat bikes are made for off-road terrain, designed with over-sized tires to handle unstable trails and snow.

Increasing trail options and growing interest in local biking options has led to many in the cycling community getting off the road and into the woods all year. Lee Huston, the former owner of Center Street Cycles in downtown Brunswick, noticed the shift while he owned the shop.

“Right now, everybody is riding in the woods,” he said.

One motivator for riding off-road is a growing fear of being struck by a distracted driver, Huston said.

That fear may be well-founded. According to a recent report in the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Department of Public Safety estimates that distracted driving is a factor in up to 40 percent of the 35,000 annual crashes last year.

“A lot of people are afraid to ride on the road,” Huston said, “but people are also a lot more nature-oriented … .”

Huston credits groups like the Merrymeeting Wheelers and the New England Mountain Bike Association Six Rivers chapter for keeping the community active.

“Every week we’ve had a fat bike ride with 20 to 25 people,” said Six Rivers President Lawrence Kovacs. “It’s brought people out in freezing temperatures. We’ve had night rides. It’s really exploded in recent years.”

The Times Record, January 30

Click here to read the rest of the article.