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BTLT In the News: “Land trust conserves Topsham’s Hideaway Farm property”

“Land trust conserves Topsham’s Hideaway Farm property” – Times Record

On June 30, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust conserved the Hideaway Farm property on the Cathance River in Topsham.

According to the trust, the property — previously owned by John Sczymecki — is significant because it abuts the conserved Robert Williams Preserve and will add an additional 1,000 feet of shorefront and 18 acres to this connected, conserved landscape.

To make this conservation effort possible, $138,000 was raised by June 30 to acquire and manage the property. The trust met its goal just before the closing deadline.

The town of Topsham, Merrymeeting Bay Trust, Davis Conservation Fund, John Sage Foundation and 70 individual donors supported the conservation effort.

“The Town of Topsham has a long history of working with BTLT to conserve natural resources and recreational opportunities along the Cathance River,” Topsham Parks and Recreation Director Pam Leduc said. “We were very happy to be able to help make the conservation of the Hideaway Farm property possible by contributing funds from our Open Space In lieu fund.

“These monies were generated from impacts on open space due to development and are set aside to be used for conservation and recreation purposes. We see the Hideaway Farm project as a great example of leveraging these dollars to conserve important habitat and create an opportunity for additional recreational trails and public access to the Cathance River.”

Over the course of 30 years, the trust has conserved more than 1,100 acres and 43,000 feet of riverfront along the Cathance River.

According to the land trust, the Hideaway Farm will enhance conservation efforts along the rivers that flow through Brunswick and Topsham into Merrymeeting Bay, including the Cathance River, around which the trust is trying to conserve the largely undeveloped area.

To view the article online, click here.

Hideaway Farm Property Successfully Conserved!

John Sczymecki, BTLT staff and Vice President at Hideaway Farm closing on 6/30/2022

This morning, we closed on the Hideaway Farm property on the Cathance River in Topsham. This property is especially significant because it abuts the previously conserved Robert Williams Preserve and will add an additional 1,000 feet of shore frontage and 18 acres to this connected, conserved landscape. Protecting the undeveloped shoreline of the Cathance River has been a major focus for us for three decades. In that time, we have conserved more than 1,100 acres and 43,000 feet of river frontage. 

When Hideaway Farm landowner, John Sczymecki, was ready to sell this special parcel, his desire was for it to remain undeveloped. We are grateful to Mr. Sczymecki for working with us to ensure that the property will be conserved to protect its special habitat and outdoor recreational values forever.

To make this conservation effort possible, $138,000 needed to be raised by June 30 to acquire and manage the property. The community responded enthusiastically, and the goal was met just before the closing deadline. Special thanks go out to the Town of Topsham, Merrymeeting Bay Trust, Davis Conservation Fund, John Sage Foundation, and 70 individual donors whose generous support made the conservation of Hideaway Farm possible.

The Topsham Conservation Commission (TCC) was an important partner in this project. The Land Trust and the Commission work together to conserve lands in Topsham that are identified as priorities in the Town’s Comprehensive and Natural Areas Plans. The TCC worked with Pam Leduc, Topsham’s Director of Parks and Recreation, to facilitate a donation to the project from the Town of Topsham. The Land Trust is incredibly grateful to Town staff and the Select Board for their support.

The Town of Topsham has a long history of working with BTLT to conserve natural resources and recreational opportunities along the Cathance River. We were very happy to be able to help make the conservation of the Hideaway Farm property possible by contributing funds from our Open Space In lieu fund. These monies were generated from impacts on open space due to development and are set aside to be used for conservation and recreation purposes. We see the Hideaway Farm project as a great example of leveraging these dollars to conserve important habitat and create an opportunity for additional recreational trails and public access to the Cathance River,” said Leduc.

The rivers that flow through Brunswick and Topsham into Merrymeeting Bay (including the Cathance River) are among BTLT’s highest priority conservation areas, in large part because Merrymeeting Bay has such tremendous ecological, economic, historic, and recreational value to our region. 

This parcel will significantly enhance existing conservation efforts in this important focus area, increasing the forested buffer and associated water quality protection for the Cathance River. The addition of this property to the matrix of conserved lands along the river will create new connections between conserved lands and increase the value of conserved habitat.  The location of this property — across from BTLT’s Tarbox Preserve and abutting the Robert Williams Preserve – is particularly important as we strives to conserve the largely undeveloped river corridor in this area. 

 

 

BTLT Conserves Additional Lands on Maquoit Bay & the Cathance River

By Angela Twitchell, BTLT Executive Director

Stream on Atwood Property

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) has been working with partners and landowners in Topsham for more than twenty years to conserve a conservation corridor along the Cathance River.

In January, BTLT conserved two additional parcels: the 10-acre Atwood property and the 23.5-acre Brannigan property. These properties are located across the river from the Cathance River Nature Preserve and conserve important wetland, stream, and wildlife habitat values. With these additions, BTLT has conserved a total of 1,140 acres and 43,000 feet of Cathance River frontage. These combined conservation efforts have protected vital wetlands and wildlife habitat, allowed the creation of miles of well-used public trails, and helped to protect the water quality of the Cathance River and Merrymeeting Bay.

We would like to thank the Atwood and Brannigan families for working with the Land Trust to conserve their land and the Merrymeeting Bay Trust whose funding made the conservation of these properties possible.

Cathance River viewed from Brannigan Property

Also in January, BTLT conserved the Alan Eckert Preserve on Maquoit Bay in Brunswick. This preserve is a 21-acre property with 2,850 feet of shoreline abutting an extensive (more than 50 acre) salt marsh at the head of Maquoit Bay. This preserve is located within the Maquoit and Middle Bay Focus Area of Statewide Ecological Significance and contains frontage along the upper marshes and tidal creeks of Maquoit Bay. The Eckert Preserve is part of a core area of undeveloped land between Maquoit and Rossmore Roads. Conservation of this property will protect the wetlands and buffer areas, allowing the land to continue to provide clean water to the abutting marsh. Moreover, the marsh is expected to migrate onto this property as sea level rises. Conservation allows for accommodation of this future marsh migration. 

BTLT volunteers on a site walk of the Atwood and Brannigan Properties

We would like to thank the Eckert family for their good stewardship of this special property and for working with BTLT to conserve it forever.

Deep appreciation also goes out to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for being our steadfast partner on this project and for making it possible in a multitude of ways, and the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership for providing funding to this project. And, most especially, we want to thank the more than 1,100 members of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust who make all of the work of the Land Trust possible. 

 

The Eckert property wraps around several fingers of marsh. The marsh is expected to move onto the property via these low lying areas.

A view of the intact marsh system adjacent to the property

A typical view of a steam that drains the 19 acres of forested wetlands on the property into the abutting marsh.

Stewardship Tour Series: Androscoggin Woods Grand Opening (1:00pm)

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  • 1:00-2:30pm
    November 6, 2021
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Join us for the grand Opening of Androscoggin Woods in Topsham

Stewardship Tour Series: Androscoggin Woods Grand Opening (11:00am)

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  • 11am
    November 6, 2021
    11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Join us for the grand Opening of Androscoggin Woods in Topsham

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, “Head of Tide – How did it happen?”

Head of Tide – How did it happen?”

May 29
Doug Bennett, BTLT board member, recently wrote an Op-Ed featured in the The Times Record on May 29 regarding the long and rewarding conservation effort for Head of Tide Park.

 

As we enjoy the park, it is worth noting how this park came to be. Who made it happen and how? There are lessons for the future in the Head of Tide story.

It wasn’t simply the doing of the town government, though they played a key role. It wasn’t simply the work of private individuals, though they played a key role. And it wasn’t simply the result of community organizations, though they, too, played a key role. It was the efforts of all these and many people, working together, that made Head of Tide possible.

Not so long ago, the Head of Tide was a decaying collection of buildings, an eyesore, really. Once the site became available, it might well have become a private development, perhaps a collection of townhouses.

That might well have prevented public access or even view of the Head of Tide. But that’s not what happened.

Curious how this story ends and what Head of Tide Park has to offer today? Click here.

 

BTLT in the News, “Trusts closer to conserving Woodward Point in Brunswick”

Trusts closer to conserving Woodward Point in Brunswick

April 25, 2018

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust was featured in The Forecaster recently, regarding the current project to preserve land at Woodward Point.

Two land trusts have raised nearly half the funds needed to preserve land at Woodward Point.

On April 16, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coast Wetlands Conservation Program would provide $570,000 to preserve 96 acres at the site. The conservation effort was launched last summer by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in collaboration with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.

So far, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust have raised $1.62 million of the $3.5 million necessary to buy and conserve the property. Their deadline is April 1, 2019.

The land has 10,000 feet of shoreline, open fields and trail systems, with the capacity to support outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting and picnicking. The area also cradles “two commercially significant shellfish beds,” according to a press release from Pingree’s office.

Working with the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust applied for a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June 2017.

“We ranked well, but it was very competitive,” Keith Fletcher, Maine Coast Heritage Trust program manager assigned to the project, said. “They gave us a partial award, and of course we are very happy with this result; it’s essential to completing this project.”

To read the complete article, click here.

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