Freeport Conservation Trust
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Po Box 433 Freeport ME 04032 USA
Fct's mission is to protect, preserve and connect open space lands and provide public access to natural areas in freeport, including forests, farmland, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat and shoreland.
Stewardship: trail work bridges were built on the frost gully woods trail with the help of bowdoin college students. Ongoing project to build boardwalks on the stonewood trail. Conversations ongoing about how to complete trail links to windsor post rd and pleasant hill rd from the kelsey brook trailstudent stewards an smcc student is doing trail work this summer. A few year-round student stewards are visiting trails monthly.
easements and acquisitions:winterwood farm fct is working with the owners of a 46-acre horse farm on webster road to protect the farm as a farm forever. In the fall of 2014, fct, with the landowners, advanced the legal process to establish a conservation easement on the farm by completing an appraisal and signing a purchase and sale agreement, contingent on securing sufficient funding. Fct applied for land for maine's future funding in february and secured a commitment of $105,000 in july. In addition, fct officially requested that the u. S. Department of agriculture farm and ranch lands protection program (frpp) increase its $90,000 commitment to $132,500, which frpp is in the process of reviewing. Fct has a plan to secure the remaining funds through donations and grants. Fct's goal is to complete purchase of this agricultural conservation easement by the end of 2015. Harraseeket and cousins rivers fct is discussed land protection possibilities with a family who owns a prominent property on the harraseeket river and with a family who owns a large parcel of undeveloped land adjacent to one of fcts preserves on the cousins river. Fct filed letters of intent with the maine natural resources conservation program for grant funding towards purchase of part of these properties, and fct was invited to submit full proposals for both projects. Fct has had initial conversations with owners of two other nearby cousins river properties about conservation possibilities. Baseline reports baseline/current conditions reports for 17 fct properties were completed this year. While it is now our practice to prepare such a report at the time a property is protected, that was not the case historically. Through this project, fct now has reports for all of the properties on which we hold conservation easements. These are required to secure accreditation from the land trust alliance. As part of our annual easement property inspections in the fall we will share the reports with landowners and seek concurrence that the report accurately reflects current conditions on their property. Fct policies: an updated conflict of interest policy was adopted following a land trust alliance model. Fundraising and membership a fall membership appeal and spring newsletter were mailed town-wide. Business partners were recruited and renewed. Land for maine future funding for winterwood farm was secured.
community outreach:outreach and events fct members and friends were sent monthly email about events and conservation happenings in the region. Fct staff and board members lead walks once or twice a month the year round, sometimes in partnership with l. L. Bean's outdoor discovery program. Fct held a well-attended annual meeting featuring dr. Stephen mulkey, president of unity college, talking about climate change. Passport program fct will take the lead on producing a freeport passport merged with the trail guide recommended in the active living plan. Fct will look for grant funding to support design and printing. Active living task force and networking to enhance trail networks fct representatives participated fully as part of the town of freeport's active living task force, and worked to secure planning board support and town council adoption of the active living plan. Fct has been working with the towns traffic and parking committee on trailhead parking as part of implementation of the active living plan. Fct encouraged the town to apply for community assistance from the national park service rivers, trails and conservation assistance program. Fct hosted trail breakfasts to strategize about trail enhancements town-wide.
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