Thanks to the support and vision of a Cushing resident, contributions from local donors and a grant from the Wyeth Foundation, Georges River Land Trust has acquired a half-acre of land adjacent to the future Langlais Sculpture Preserve.

The organization will utilize the property to construct a safe parking area for visitors to the preserve, which is planned to open to the public next September.

"It is nice to see the property is once again combined with the Langlais property and hopefully it will bring much pleasure to a lot of people, as much enjoyment as I had there,” said neighbor Tessie Montgomery.

Land Trust Program Manager Annette Naegel thanked Montgomery, saying “This project would not have been possible without Mrs. Montgomery’s interest in the Preserve and support of the Georges River Rand Trust.”

GRLT is working with a landscape architect and a team of dedicated volunteers to develop a new entrance to the property. The goal is to make the property available to all ages and abilities, said Executive Director Pamela Dewell.

“Many people remember Blackie Langlais and loved to visit what he called his “environmental complex,” she said. “Thanks to our partnership with the Kohler Foundation and Colby College, many of Blackie’s works have been conserved and the property made available for meetings and special events."

The organization plans to construct ADA-compliant pathways and host artists through the organization’s Artist in Residency program. “There is tremendous interest in the Langlais Sculpture Preserve, even before our formal opening next year,” Dewell said. “We have hosted a number of groups, recently one from California interested in learning more about this Maine artist. We look forward to next year’s opening when we can showcase the property to the public.”

A small house on the property must be removed to allow for the construction of a parking area large enough for school buses to turn around. It is the land trust’s hope that a family will be able to move the home and make it their own. Auctioneer Bruce Gamage will volunteer his services at a public auction of the building Saturday, Dec. 3, at the property: 582 River Road. Minimum bid is $1. More information, including the terms of the sale, can be found at georgesriver.org.

The mission of the Georges River Land Trust is to conserve the ecosystems and traditional heritage of the Georges River watershed region through permanent land conservation, stewardship and outdoor experiences. To this end, the Land Trust has conserved 3,800 acres in the St. George River watershed region and maintains 16 preserves and more than 50 miles of hiking trails along the Georges Highland Path, providing public access and recreational opportunities. A grand opening of the Langlais Sculpture Preserve is planned for September 2017, kicking off a series of events and opportunities to engage the public in a celebration of art and the natural world.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.