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BTLT in the News, “Head of Tide Park, and the 12-year saga of how it came to be”

“Head of Tide Park, and the 12-year saga of how it came to be”

July 1, 2018

Angela Twitchell and Pam LeDuc joined Mary Pols at Head of Tide Park to delve into the details of the newly opened park in Topsham.

Unless they are avid readers of the local land trust’s newsletter, the picnickers would be unlikely to know it took 12 years, at least 11 funders, multiple land purchases, easements granted by neighbors, rounds of grant writing and applications, and coordination among federal, state and local agencies – including the local fire department – to make it happen. Head of Tide Park looks like it has been part of the Topsham landscape forever, but it has been officially open only for a month.

How it came to be is a classic tale of American land conservation, a lot of patience and a vision to see beyond mildewed buildings and into a day like this one, where a family is picnicking, a man on a bicycle stops to sit in the shade, another reads a sign explaining the history of the place and two women launch a kayak to head upstream, into what had been secret to many – the beauty of a place where the tides from Merrymeeting Bay push deep into the land to meet the fresh water of the Cathance River.

Water cascades over rocks where the Cathance River meets Merrymeeting Bay at the Head of Tide Park in Topsham. It took 12 years to carve The town’s first waterfront park. Now the whole park is owned by Topsham, with a conservation easement held by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Staff photos by Gregory Rec

To read the rest of the story, click here.

BTLT in the News, “Take a Hike: Visit yesteryear at Cathance River Trail and Head of Tide Park, Topsham”

BTLT on the Radio, Head of Tide Park Grand Opening

Head of Tide Park

May 30

Angela Twitchell, BTLT Executive Director, and Pam LeDuc, Topsham Parks and Recreation Director, were interviewed last week by Jim Bleikamp on the WCME Midcoast Morning Buzz! Click the page below to hear the interview and learn about Head of Tide Park.

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, “Topsham to celebrate opening of Head of Tide Park”

Topsham to celebrate opening of Head of Tide Park

May 30, 2018

After over a decade of hard work, Head of Tide Park is now permanently conserved and offers a beautiful waterfall, picnicking areas, trails, and water access. Alex Lear of The Forecaster met up with Angela Twitchell, BTLT Executive Director, to learn more about the Park.

Twelve years of planning, funding and development along the Cathance River will culminate Saturday, June 2, with the grand opening of Head of Tide Park.

The 12-acre property at 235 Cathance Road, owned by the town and stewarded by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, has much to offer the nature enthusiast.

There’s the 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, along with picnic and parking areas. Informational signs cover the rich history of the site, where a sawmill operated 300 years ago, followed by a feldspar mill.

The park’s story began with an ending.

Elizabeth Kelso, who died in 2005, owned the apartments that sat where the mill had once operated. Through a 2006 bequest, a one-third interest in the property went to the Cathance River Education Alliance, which motivated CREA to seek conservation of the entire property.

Agreeing to serve as the project’s fiscal agent, the BTLT board had Angela Twitchell, the land trust’s executive director, coordinate conservation and fundraising activities. BTLT bought the abutting 1.5-acre Cutler property in 2010, and donated it to the town, according to the grand opening’s press release.

Topsham Development used its enterprise fund to buy the entire property in 2009, as well as the 7-acre Direnzo parcel – now used for parking and soon for hand-carry boat access – across the street in 2014. TDI served as interim owner in both cases until the town and BTLT could raise the funds to purchase all the pieces of the 12-acre parcel, a process completed this March.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Twitchell said with a smile May 24 while looking around the site. After 12 years, “we’ve got the whole vision completed.”

Click here for the full article.