Land trust, water company complete fourth conservation acquisition

Dec 21, 2012
Photo by: Mark Wallack The Hart Property encompasses the center of the western slopes of Ragged Mountain.

Rockport — Coastal Mountains Land Trust and The Maine Water Company recently celebrated completion of its acquisition of the fourth and final piece of a 203-acre property on Ragged Mountain in Rockport.

Purchase of this key property permanently protects a large portion of the western slopes of the mountain, a mutual interest of the land trust, the water company, and the former owners, John and Rhonda Hart.

The Maine Water Company has purchased this property as part of its ongoing effort to own and manage the watershed of Mirror Lake, the public water supply that serves the towns of Camden, Rockport, Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head, and Warren. As part of the transaction, Coastal Mountains Land Trust holds a perpetual conservation easement on the property. It has been working for the past 10 years to conserve Ragged Mountain and Bald Mountain for their outdoor recreation, scenic, wildlife, and water resources. The Land Trust worked cooperatively with the Harts to structure purchase of the property, which occurred in four sections.

The conservation easement achieves all of the land trust's conservation goals for the property, and furthers the water company's objective to protect the pristine quality of its water sources. Thanks to the Harts' cooperation and conservation vision, the purchase was staged over two years, giving the land trust time to raise the necessary funds.

The property will provide a key link for the land trust's vision of the Round the Mountain Trail. This 10-mile outdoor recreation opportunity is based from the Camden Snow Bowl, which has been a project partner since the land trust initiated the Bald and Ragged Mountains Campaign in 2003. The land trust and Snow Bowl have already established the first three miles of the Round the Mountain Trail, which will ultimately circumnavigate Ragged Mountain with a four-season trail offering hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. In addition, public access is secured for the property's section of the Georges Highland Path, a project of the Georges River Land Trust.

The conservation easement also permanently protects the property's highly scenic fields, forests, and and dramatic, exposed ledges that reach to the summit of Ragged Mountain, creating a large block of undeveloped wildlife habitat. Completion of this project raises the total of conserved land in the Bald and Ragged Mountains focus area to 49 percent of the 3,500-acre goal.

As has been the case with all of the land trust's conservation work on Bald Mountain and Ragged Mountain, this new project was made possible in part by the tremendous generosity of the people and businesses of the community and grant support from more than a dozen private foundations.

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