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.
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.
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. Click the photo at left to learn more about this project.
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.