Partnerships ensure protection for Maine lands
By Lee Bumsted
On a sunny day last fall, I drove down the Phippsburg Peninsula in southern Maine until I reached a convenient launch ramp. I had two sea kayaks strapped on top of my car, so that Chris Hamilton of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) could join me. We readied our gear and then paddled a short distance offshore to Malaga Island, one of the trusts recent acquisitions. When we landed on a pocket beach at the north end of the 41-acre island, I could see why Hamilton had packed his camera. Rounded wooden lobster traps, abandoned in favor of the more durable rectangular wire models, littered the shore and sumac was taking on its autumn colors. From our lunch perch atop a stretch of granite ledge, we had a fine view of neighboring islands and passing fishing boats.
as we can. What he hopes to protect them from is new construction, such as the large glass-fronted vacation homes and kingdom estates that have been cropping up along the Maine coast.
Maine Coast Heritage Trust has been quietly operating since 1970. The statewide trust holds as its mission to conserve coastal and other lands that define Maines distinct landscape, protect its environment, sustain its outdoor traditions and promote the well-being of its people. It does this through extensive partnering with federal agencies, state agencies and local land trusts, in addition to working with the landowners themselves. Private philanthropy, endowment income and grants fund its annual operations budget of approximately $2.25 million. The trust has helped conserve an impressive 112,000 acres, including 260 entire coastal islands.
Unlike most land trusts, Maine Coast Heritage Trust generally does not hold onto the properties it works so hard to acquire. Of the 850 land protection deals it has completed, the trust only owns 48 properties outright. It holds conservation easements, which place limits on future development, on 95 others. It has transferred the remaining properties and easements to its partners.
Saving the Maritimes' largest wilderness area
By Andi Rierden, Editor
From a satellite image taken more than 400 miles above Nova Scotia, the Tobeatic Wilderness Area appears as a beautiful mosaic of wetlands, barrens, meadows and dense woodland. Unlike the patchwork of roads and chock-white scars of forest clear cuts that skirt its borders, this vast, isolated tract, at over 104,000 hectares [370,740 acres] stands apart as a lush and unfragmented ecosystem.
The Toby, as it is often called, is the largest protected area in Maritime Canada. The subject of a well-loved classic, The Tent Dwellers [Nimbus Press, Halifax], and scores of backcountry tales handed down through the generations, it remains Nova Scotias last true wilderness. The provinces small native moose population depends upon its undisturbed lands and waterways to survive, as do black bears, river otters, bobcats and the endangered Blandings turtle and rare southern flying squirrel. The Tobeatic provides a stable habitat for water-pennywort, golden crest, redroot and Longs bulrush, all listed as species at risk. The headwaters for nine rivers that flow into the Gulf of Maine rise from the Tobeatic, including the Shelburne, a Canadian Heritage River.
Knowledge born from deep roots