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Supporting Traditional Economic Interests

Many Maine land trusts conserve properties that feed the local economy and sustain traditional ways of life. Unlike residential development, which can carry a high cost in long-term services, farmland, forest land, working waterfronts and recreational lands all provide an ongoing source of local revenue, and benefit many businesses. The following examples illustrate how land trusts are conserving and managing lands that strengthen the economy.

Community Farms: Scarborough Land Conservation Trust (SLCT) purchased the 434-acre Broadturn Farm (formerly the Meserve Farm) in 2004, in partnership with the Town of Scarborough, the State, The Trust for Public Land, and USDA’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. SLCT subsequently raised more than $200,000 to renovate the farmhouse and barn buildings and needs to raise $40,000 within the next year for more renovations. Through Farmlink (www.mainefarmlink.org), a program of Maine Farmland Trust that matches prospective farmers with farmland owners, SLCT found John Bliss and Stacy Brenner, who began managing the farm in 2006. They now provide organic vegetables and meat to nearly 80 members in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and run a farm camp for young children.

Working Waterfront Access: For more than 150 years, Holbrook’s Wharf has anchored the community life of Cundy’s Harbor, Maine’s oldest commercial lobstering community. The property includes a restaurant, and once supported a general store and post office that made it the town’s social hub. When the property came up for sale, a group of local residents sought help from the Trust for Public Land and Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. Late last year, the Holbrook Community Foundation (a nonprofit formed to own and manage the property for the benefit of local residents) purchased the property to restore and protect the working waterfront property for the benefit of this fishing community.

Recreation and Sustainable Forestry: The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is working on an ambitious plan to foster nature-based tourism and land conservation in up to 100,000 acres within Maine’s 100-mile Wilderness Region (east of Greenville). To date, AMC has acquired the 37,000-acres Katahdin Iron Works tract and three sporting camps—Little Lyford Pond Camps, Medawisla Wilderness Camps and the Leon and Lisa Gorman Camps at Chairback Mountain. Visitors can ski, bike and hike between lodgings. Some of the lands purchased will be ecological reserves, while others allow for sustainable forestry to help meet local economic needs.