Mount Desert Island Land Conservation Initiative
Since its founding on Mount Desert Island in 1970, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked to conserve lands that are critical to maintaining the character of our community — from our earliest work among the islands of the Acadian archipelago to our more recent emphasis on MDI’s productive farmland, recreational trails, and invaluable estuaries and watersheds. Now, with more than 20 new land protection opportunities around the Island, MCHT is pursuing an ambitious conservation initiative to maintain and strengthen MDI’s unique quality of place.
Woods & Watersheds
While less known than Acadia’s spectacular coastline and summits, MDI’s forested interior provides important wildlife habitat, offers recreational opportunities, and serves to maintain the quality of our water supply. MCHT faces several project opportunities totaling more than 1,000 acres; the fate of these lands will directly impact the health of our island’s human and natural communities.
The Western Shore
MDI’s Western Shore, which stretches from Western Bay south to Bass Harbor, remains a remarkably wild and beautiful setting. MCHT has worked for years with families who have voluntarily conserved their land on this shore. We hope to build on this success through a number of new projects — maintaining the traditions and character of this unique coastline.
MCHT has been a leader in farmland protection on MDI, having completed more than a dozen land protection projects that conserve prime soils and open lands. These successful projects have led to a resurgence in local agriculture on the Island. Several key farms remain unprotected however, and face potential conversion to development without action by MCHT.
Acadia Land Legacy
In partnership with Friends of Acadia, MCHT is helping add key parcels to Acadia National Park in places like Hadlock Pond, Round Pond, and Bass Harbor Marsh. The Park relies on Congress to fund these land acquisitions; however, the federal process rarely meets the needs and timeframes of willing landowners. MCHT and FOA are working to ensure that these lands are conserved when opportunities arise and are held for future transfer to the Park.
Meeting the Challenge
MCHT is seeking to raise $10 million from individuals, foundations, and the State and Federal Government, through cash, planned gifts, and gifts of land in order to take full advantage of the unique opportunities presented in the Mount Desert Island Initiative.
Gifts to the MDI Initiative will be spent primarily on direct land protection, with allocations for ongoing land stewardship and operational support.
Special Matching Opportunity
Through the generosity of The Pew Charitable Trusts and an anonymous donor in matching donations, MCHT has made great strides toward our fundraising goals for this initiative. We are thrilled to have completed one of the keystone projects-- the permanent protection of Kitteredge Brook Forest, 516 acres and more than two miles of frontage along Kitteredge Brook, in the heart of Mount Desert Island. But we have far to go to conserve more places that are critical to maintaining the character of the MDI community and its unique quality of place: we must raise $2 million by March 15, 2012.
The next phase of this initiative will offer more opportunity to leverage gifts with matching contributions, so that we can conserve the priceless landscapes of Mount Desert Island. Again, The Pew Charitable Trusts has stepped up to offer a match for donations, along with a generous, additional matching challenge from the Davis Family. These result in a total of a 50% match for all qualified contributions made through The Pew Charitable Trusts by March 15, 2012!
We are deeply grateful for these loyal and generous supporters and hope that many of our members and friends will take advantage of the leverage this provides.
If you are interested in being a part of this impressive initiative, including the special matching opportunity, please contact:
Director of Development
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201
Topsham, ME 04086
Director of Land Protection
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
1034 Main Street, P.O. Box 669
Mount Desert, ME 04660
(Photo of Kitteredge Brook by Bridget Besaw and photo of Lower Hadlock Pond by Rich Knox)