Times Record: Land trust hopes to acquire coastal property by summer

Land trust hopes to acquire coastal property by summer

TR Logo color 8in 2016| March 28, 2016 | Front Page | The Times Record

Times Record Staff

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is in the process of purchasing
land from the Brunswick Unitarian Universalist Church for conservation and public use. The Land T rust hopes to acquire coastal property by summer

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is hoping to close on about 20 acres of coastal property and prime clam fats by summer.

According to BTLT Executive Director Angela Twitchell, the transaction that began a year ago has been on hold for some time, awaiting funds to be released at the state level. The parcel currently belongs to the Brunswick Unitarian Universalist Church, which had planned to construct a new church on the site before deciding to rebuild at its current Pleasant Street location.

Twitchell said BTLT applied for funding through the Land for Maine’s Future program to cover the $125,000 appraised cost and although they were awarded that funding, it has yet to be dispersed. Twitchell said she spoke with people from the Land for Maine’s Future program last week and they are hopeful Gov. Paul LePage will release the bonds in July.

The purchase contract is set to expire in June, but Twitchell said, if necessary, BTLT will fund the purchase with loans, which will then be repaid with LMF funds.

The property came to the attention of the BTLT through its work with Brunswick Marine Resource Officer Dan Devereaux and others in the community to identify access points for clammers that may be in jeopardy.

Woodard Cove has traditionally been used by clammers and the Unitarian Universalist Church allowed free access to their property. However, a private sale could potentially close access to the clam flats adjacent to the land.

BTLT began talking to the church and in keeping with the church’s mission for stewardship and environmental goals, Twitchell said it appeared to be a win-win for all involved to keep the land conserved and open for hiking, clamming or just enjoying nature.

“Our plan is to have a small trail plus improve access for the shell fishermen and there is already a parking lot of sorts,” Twitchell said, adding that there is a small, scenic high point on the parcel perfect for picnicking.

“I think it does always feel good when there are access points that are in jeopardy as they are up and down the coast, that you can work together, a whole bunch of us in the community and conserve it forever so that’s one less thing to worry about,” Twitchell said.