The Georges River Land Trust on Dec. 30 permanently protected the Paulsen Farm in South Thomaston with a conservation easement. The 252-acre farm has been actively farmed for more than 50 years; currently, beef cattle graze the fields on both sides of Route 131.

Two years ago, Donald Paulsen donated an easement on the 11 acres he owns on the west side of Route 131. This past month he sold an agricultural conservation easement on the 252 acres he owns on the east side of Route 131, which extends to the Weskeag Marsh.

With a conservation easement, Paulsen continues to own his land as well as ensure that future generations will enjoy the wide-open vistas, the extensive bird habitat along the Weskeag Marsh, the undisturbed woodland used by a wide array of wildlife, and the opportunity to manage the land for food and fiber.

“God has blessed me,” Paulsen said. “He has enabled me with the opportunity and a little wisdom to obtain the land known as Money Bags Spread. He has given me the health and ambition to farm this piece since 1959. Now I wish to show my gratitude to Him, to my relatives, neighbors, and friends in South Thomaston, and to all the good people in this fair state. I have entered into an agreement with the Georges River Land Trust to preserve this area of land as working farm now and for future generations.”

The land trust said it was pleased to partner with Paulsen because the large and significant parcel not only protects valuable farmland and farm soils but also creates a bridge of protected land between the St. George River and the Weskeag Marsh. This is the first opportunity to truly link two extremely valuable estuary and tidal resources used by thousands of migratory birds feeding on the mudflats and marsh of both systems.

Thanks to Paulsen, the land trust also piloted its first installment purchase on a conservation easement. He suggested this idea to provide the land trust with flexibility to raise money for the purchase over time while reducing his capital gains tax in any one year. The land trust will pay Paulsen for the value of the development rights on his farm during the next few years.

Support from generous individual donors, grant funders including The Davis Conservation Fund, John Sage Foundation and Maine Farmland Trust, as well as mitigation dollars made the initial payment possible. Conservation of the beautiful farm is the largest land conservation project ever undertaken by GRLT.