State grants help Knox County land protection efforts
Topsham — Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, has been awarded two grants from the Land for Maine’s Future program to support land conservation projects in Knox County.
The LMF board recently agreed to invest more than $9 million in 30 projects across Maine, including projects to create public preserves at High Island in St. George and an expansion of conservation land at the Weskeag Marsh in South Thomaston.
Located in St. George, High Island is readily accessible from the Tenants Harbor public landing, and supports a long established youth outdoor education program — the 4H Camp and Learning Center at Tanglewood and Blueberry Cove. Maine Coast Heritage Trust is seeking to acquire the 18-acre island to guarantee permanent public access for outdoor activities such as camping and picnicking, with project support from Georges River Land Trust, the town of Saint George, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, and the Maine Island Trail Association. MCHT was awarded $262,500 from LMF for this project.
Lower Weskeag Fields and Forests
This 220-acre property in South Thomaston includes 7,000 feet of tidal shoreline on the Weskeag River, 20 acres of deer wintering habitat, and extensive shorebird feeding and resting sites. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Georges River Land Trust, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust are partnering on this project to ensure access for the public, including clammers, wormers, and bird watchers. MCHT was awarded $350,000 toward this project.
“These projects, like all LMF sponsored projects, will be successful because they meet the recreational needs of the citizens of Maine and support the state’s natural resource based economy,” said Maine Coast Heritage Trust President Tim Glidden, in a news release. “This latest round of investments in land conservation could not have come at a better time.”
The LMF board, comprising public officials and private citizens appointed by the governor, reviews proposals from municipalities, state agencies and land trusts before deciding which projects will provide the most public benefits. The announcement of grant recipients is not the final step. Before the state commits funds, each project will go through a rigorous due diligence process to ensure Maine voters’ expectations are met both in terms of quality and affordability.
“It’s great to have the LMF stamp of approval in support of these two high value conservation projects,” said Georges River Land Trust Conservation Program Director Annette Naegel. "So many partners have brought their unique strengths to these initiatives, and have worked together to move them forward."
More information about both projects can be found at mcht.org.