Archive for category: In the News

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.

BTLT in the News, “Town agrees to help fund conservation of Woodward Point”


Town agrees to help fund conservation of Woodward Point
January 28
by Hannah LaClaire

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is energized by the Brunswick Town Council’s decision last Thursday to commit to support the Woodward Point Project! This unanimous decision is incredibly exciting as it puts us even closer to reaching our March 31 deadline.

The Times Record recently covered this decision on the front page,

The town council last week unanimously backed a request for $150,000 to help the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust complete the funding for conservation of Woodward Point on the New Meadows River.


Councilor David Watson said his first question when evaluating an agenda item is, “Is this good for Brunswick?” The conservation was decidedly “good for Brunswick,” he said.


Councilor Steve Walker recused himself from the vote at Thursday night’s meeting due to a conflict of interest with his position as a project manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a move which received a “thank you” from chair John Perreault and a quick round of applause from other councilors.


“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of community support for conserving Woodward Point and opening it to the public,” Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust President Angela Twitchell said in a recent press release. “Funding from the Town would provide a critical lift in our push to the finish line. The project will bring numerous benefits to Town residents and visitors, but only if we can close the funding gap by the end of March.”


In partnership with the Brunswick-Topsham trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust wants to raise $3.5 million by March 31 to purchase the land and provide for its long-term management as a public preserve.

Click here to read the whole article.

BTLT in the News, The Times Record covers Woodward Point

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have joined together to conserve Woodward Point and are calling on the town of Brunswick to help preserve the property consisting of 96 acres and 2 miles of shoreline. The Times Record recently published three articles regarding developments in this ongoing project.

See below for previews and click each title to read the full article.

Land trusts to ask Brunswick for $150K in public funds to conserve Woodward Point

January 15, 2019

 The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are asking the town of Brunswick to help complete the funding for conservation of Woodward Point on the New Meadows River.

The town council will consider the $150,000 request Jan. 24, according to a joint news release from the trusts.

“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of community support for conserving Woodward Point and opening it to the public,” Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust President Angela Twitchell said in the release. “Funding from the Town would provide a critical lift in our push to the finish line. The project will bring numerous benefits to Town residents and visitors, but only if we can close the funding gap by the end of March.”

Guest column: Time for Brunswick to lend a hand to conserve Woodward Point

I made a fabulous discovery a few weeks ago. On a bright and icy cold day, I bundled up and headed over to Woodward Point in east Brunswick, eager to see for myself what Angela Twitchell, executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, had told me was “an amazing place that almost no one knows about.” She was right. The view from the parking area was stunning, and it only got better on my hour-long exploration. Guided by Keith Fletcher from Maine Coast Heritage Trust, I crossed rolling hayfields, passed a stream and a large freshwater pond, poked around in the pine and hardwood forests, and stood in awe at the shimmering shoreline. There weren’t many birds to see on that cold day, but I had a lovely look at a porcupine sequestered high in a White Pine.  

For the past two years, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) have been working in partnership to preserve 89 acres on Woodward Point. With two peninsulas and more than 2 miles of shoreline on the New Meadows River, the property is one of the last remaining undeveloped waterfront parcels of its size in southern Maine. It’s also is one of the last large coastal parcels available to conserve in Brunswick. Woodward Point will be a public preserve, available for outdoor recreation, water access, and education. It will also protect an ecologically significant area. Of particular note are its shellfish flats, which are among the most productive in the state.  

Your Land: January at Woodward Point

It’s about promise. 

On Jan. 24, Brunswick’s Town Council will consider making the town a partner in the Woodward Point Project. That project nears both goal and deadline for raising the $3.5 million needed to purchase nearly 90 acres of shoreline that encompasses much of a longtime, saltwater cattle farm along the New Meadows River. The farm’s open fields, mixed habitat, good condition and more than two miles of shoreline are unparalleled in southern Maine. 

And thanks to the cooperative work of Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and their many supporters, we, the public, are within sniffing distance of forever access to this special land. 

If these two partners in preservation can raise the 300,000 remaining dollars needed by April 1st, they will be able to complete the purchase of Woodward Point and begin the work of imagining its public future. Which, by land and from the sea, will include you. 

BTLT in the News, “Land trusts want Brunswick to chip in $150K for Woodward Point”

Land trusts want Brunswick to chip in $150K for Woodward Point

January 16, 2019

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust have joined together to conserve Woodward Point and are calling on the town of Brunswick to help preserve the property consisting of 96 acres and 2 miles of shoreline.

Two conservation trusts want the town to contribute $150,000 to help preserve 96 acres at Woodward Point.

Their goal is to raise $3.5 million by the end of March. The conservation effort launched last summer still needs $340,000, the organizations said in a press release.

The Town Council is scheduled to take up the request from the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program agreed to provide $570,000 to preserve the property. The state’s Land for Maine’s Future program awarded $400,000 for the acquisition, and 75 individuals have made donations.

Woodward Point, near Cook’s Corner, includes more than 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove, and would offer the public opportunities to walk, swim, fish, or paddle.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thank you for making our successes in 2018 possible!

Thanks to the generous support of our more than 1,000 members, 2018 was a busy year for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. From land conservation and stewardship to mushroom forays and student-grown produce for MCHPP, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust focused our efforts in 2018 on the wellness of our community and organization.

Head of Tide Park

After 12 years of collaboration between BTLT, the town of Topsham, and many other individuals and organizations, Head of Tide Park was conserved and made into the first waterfront park in Topsham. Spanning 12 acres of land on both banks of the Cathance River, Head of Tide Park’s amenities include hand-carry boat access, a riverfront trail connecting to BTLT’s Cathance River Nature Preserve, and a picnic area to bird-watch, fish, swim, and just enjoy being outdoors in a beautiful setting – and all of this is open to everyone!

This is just one of several projects that created or improved public access to the outdoors for the people of our region in 2018. Others include conservation of the Smart parcel behind Riverview Cemetery in Topsham, which permanently protects a large section of the recently built Topsham River Trail; construction of a bridge connecting BTLT’s Chase Reserve trail to the Freeport Conservation Trust’s Antoinette Jackman Trail thanks to the hard work of Eagle Scout Sam Hughes; and completion of a trail on BTLT’s Woodward Cove property in East Brunswick that ensures public access to these productive clam flats.

Neptune Woods

Our most recently completed land conservation project is Neptune Woods at Brunswick Landing and its great new mountain bike and multi-use trails opened in October. No project better exemplifies BTLT’s proud history of partnering with other organizations – in this case, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, 6 Rivers New England Mountain Bike Association, and Mid Coast Hospital – to create access to the out-of-doors for the people of our region.

Woodward Point

We can’t leave the list of land conservation successes in 2018 without mentioning the exciting Woodward Point property which, when complete, will conserve nearly 90 acres and two miles of shorefront on Woodward Cove and the New Meadow River in Brunswick. While this project (being done in a wonderful partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust) is ongoing and still in need of significant funding to be completed, we count the progress we have made to date as one of our most important accomplishments of 2018. Click the photo at left to learn more about this project.

Perryman Carrot Harvest

BTLT focused on building wellness in our community by protecting clean water and open spaces with land conservation, but also through supporting healthy lifestyles, promoting self-care, growing healthy food for MCHPP, and providing opportunities for community engagement with the land throughout the year. To name a few of these wellness-focused accomplishments in 2018, we brought a series of trail runs to the community, collaborated with Jade Integrated Health for forest bathing walks on BTLT’s Crystal Spring Farm trails, redoubled our efforts to bring SNAP users to our Farmers’ Market, brought Coffin and Mt. Ararat Middle School students to the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, built raised beds at Perryman Village and brought Perryman Village children to the garden, participated in the Merrymeeting Food Council and Merrymeeting Gleaners, and grew produce for MCHPP at the Community Garden. Beyond that, we created the Southern Mid Coast Trail Guide in collaboration with other local and trusts and towns, updated the Brunswick Outdoors Map, and created an online wellness resource that promotes staying active throughout the year with an interactive map of activities in our area and matching spreadsheet for each season.

When the Land Trust conserves a property, it also takes on a commitment – in perpetuity – for responsible stewardship of the land. It’s a weighty responsibility, and BTLT has worked hard to build a financially and institutionally sustainable organization capable of fulfilling it. Our national accreditation in 2012 and 2018 re-accreditation recognize BTLT as a land trust that has its ducks in a row, both organizationally and financially.

In recent years, BTLT has achieved a lot and it has been accomplished under the leadership of Brad Babson, who in 2018 wrapped up seven years as president of BTLT’s board. We at BTLT have always known how much Brad’s vision and perseverance have done for our organization and our community. We were extremely gratified to see Brad recognized for these qualities in the wider community as a recipient of Camden National Bank’s 2018 Leaders & Luminaries award.

All of this and more was made possible by your generous contributions! We thank all of our members and supporters for the successes of 2018 and we look forward to the possibilities that await us in 2019 to conserve special places and connect the people of our region to them.

Find out more about all of the projects mentioned above at www.btlt.org.

BTLT in the News, “Land trust looks back at 2018”

Land trust looks back at 2018

December 28, 2018

Angela Twitchell, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Executive Director, and Emily Swan, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Board President, co-wrote a piece for the Times Record summing up another successful year at the Land Trust.

Key to our mission is connecting the people of our region to the land and enriching community appreciation of the natural world. 2018 has been a busy year for the Land Trust thanks to the generous support of our more than 1,000 members.

First and foremost is land conservation, and leading the pack there is Head of Tide Park, the result of a 12-year collaboration between BTLT, the town of Topsham, and many other individuals and organizations. Spanning 12 acres of land on both banks of the Cathance River, Head of Tide Park’s amenities include hand-carry boat access, a riverfront trail connecting to BTLT’s Cathance River Nature Preserve, and a picnic area to bird-watch, fish, swim, and just enjoy being outdoors in a beautiful setting – and all of this is open to everyone!

This is just one of several projects that created or improved public access to the outdoors for the people of our region in 2018. Others include conservation of the Smart parcel behind Riverview Cemetery in Topsham, which permanently protects a large section of the recently built Topsham River Trail; construction of a bridge connecting BTLT’s Chase Reserve trail to the Freeport Conservation Trust’s Antoinette Jackman Trail thanks to the hard work of Eagle Scout Sam Hughes; and completion of a trail on BTLT’s Woodward Cove property in East Brunswick that ensures public access to these productive clam flats.

Our most recently completed land conservation project is Neptune Woods at Brunswick Landing and its great new mountain bike and multi-use trails opened in October. No project better exemplifies BTLT’s proud history of partnering with other organizations – in this case, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, 6 Rivers New England Mountain Bike Association, and Mid Coast Hospital – to create access to the out-of-doors for the people of our region.

We can’t leave the list of land conservation successes in 2018 without mentioning the exciting Woodward Point property which, when complete, will conserve nearly 90 acres and two miles of shorefront on Woodward Cove and the New Meadow River in Brunswick. While this project (being done in a wonderful partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust) is ongoing and still in need of significant funding to be completed, we count the progress we have made to date as one of our most important accomplishments of 2018. Expect to hear more about this project in 2019.

Virtually all of BTLT’s work supports community wellness, from protecting clean water, open spaces, and recreation, to supporting access to healthy food, and much more.

Click here to read the full article!

BTLT in the News, “Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust launches online ‘wellness resource'”

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust launches online ‘wellness resource’

Alex Lear, The Forecaster

December 18, 2018

We are lucky to live in a place so rich with outdoor resources like waterfalls and rivers, bike trails and hiking paths, kayaking, and islands to explore. Information on those opportunities for recreation and physical activity are spread throughout the internet, though, and sometimes it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. That’s why over the past few months, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has been working on a project to provide you with a wellness resource that will provide you with inspiration and options all through the year. The Forecaster’s Alex Lear wrote a story on this new resource…

For those wondering what all-ages activities are available in the area to boost or maintain physical health, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has the answers.

The trust launched its “wellness resource” at btlt.org/wellness-map last month. With the website a work in progress, “we are looking for information from the community to make sure that we aren’t missing anything,” Jamie Pacheco, BTLT’s wellness coordinator, said Dec. 12.

“We want feedback; we want to know what people need,” Pacheco said.

The resource is meant as a one-stop shop for those looking for outdoor, indoor or child-friendly activities around greater Brunswick. Whereas information on such opportunities has been spread over various websites, or not published online, the new guide will serve as a compilation of available opportunities.

“The Land Trust’s mission is to conserve land but also to connect people to nature by providing recreational opportunities,” BTLT said in a recent press release. “As such, the organization feels a responsibility to improve the overall wellness of our community through education and access.”

To read the full story, click here!

BTLT in the News, “Land’s End”

“Land’s End”

November 2018


BTLT and MCHT are teaming up to conserve Woodward Point, a beautiful property over 80 acres large with over two miles of shoreline along two peninsulas on the New Meadows River in Brunswick. Recently, Down East magazine ran a story on the project.

With its sprawling pastures, spectacular views of the New Meadows River, and meandering forests at the water’s edge, Woodward Point’s defining quality is its unspoiled beauty. Bobolinks flock in the pasture. Mussels grow in a freshwater pond. Two miles of shoreline host great blue herons, oysters, and some of the most productive clamflats in Maine.

Jaki Ellis and Andy Cook fell in love with Woodward Point 40 years ago and made their fondest memories there. They raised cattle on the site’s more than 80 acres. Their kids learned to love the woods. In summer, they sailed from the dock at their back door, and in winter, they cross-country skied in the meadow.

All the while, they’ve watched the surrounding waterfront become private estates. Now, they’re retired and ready to move — but not ready to see the land they love meet the same fate. “We want to preserve the landscape,” Ellis says. “We don’t want to see it divided up and developed.”

The couple reached out to Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust in the hopes the organizations could protect their treasured land and ensure the community can enjoy it forever. The two land trusts have an option to purchase the property and are working to raise $3.5 million by March 2019 in order to make the acquisition and manage the property as a public preserve.

To read the rest, click here!