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2023 Annual Report 

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A healthier, more resilient Maine coast

Thank you for supporting conservation of the Maine coast in 2023.

This coast of islands, rocky shorelines, forests, wetlands, winding rivers, and close-knit communities make it unlike any other in the world. MCHT’s founders understood this when they formed Maine Coast Heritage Trust in 1970 and sought to protect what makes Maine such a vital and unique place.

Together we conserved 17 new places, totaling 1,253 acres, and monitored and cared for 45,095 acres of land.

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More places conserved

The 17 new places conserved in 2023 comprise a total of 1,253 acres (that’s about the size of the total land acreage of Portland) and include 13.5 miles of shoreline (that’s the distance from Rockland to Lincolnville).

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More lands cared for

Our stewardship staff monitored and cared for a total of 45,095 acres (that’s about the size of Deer Isle and Stonington combined), including maintaining over 100 miles of trail (that’s about the distance from Brunswick to Bangor).

Click the arrows below to see 2023 highlights.

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A collaboration with the town of Cutler protected 4.4 shorefront acres for a future town park, increased public access to Cutler Harbor for recreation and commercial fishing, and secured access to MCHT’s Western Head Preserve. In the coming months and years, we will be developing a plan to improve access and parking. MCHT photo.

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Donors gave to support construction of a new barn and visitor center at Aldermere Farm, which is part of the recently completed $4.4 million campaign to make this preserve, and nearby Erickson Fields, safer, more efficient, and more accessible community assets in the coming decades. MCHT photo.

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MCHT stewards Kyle Winslow and Frank Wilson constructed trails at Meserve Head in Machias. We also installed a new parking lot and welcomed community members at an evening meet-and-greet hosted in partnership with the AmeriCorps programs of Goodwill Northern New England. MCHT photo.

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In August, we joined with volunteers on Marshall Island to collect, bag, remove, and recycle well over a ton of debris in a single day. This kind of clean-up work is endless, regularly undertaken by stewards, partners, and volunteers on all the preserves we care for. Photo by Maine Mountain Media.

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As of 2023, Sheep Island is one of four islands off Casco Passage in Blue Hill Bay owned and cared for by MCHT. We look forward to welcoming visitors on Sheep and other publicly accessible island preserves within this special archipelago! MCHT photo.

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We finished a project to stabilize the Stone Barn Farm in Bar Harbor, replace the roof and roof bracing, and reconstruct the rear portion of the barn (though it looks nearly the same!). In coming years, we will continue to make important improvements to the land and buildings to increase accessibility and make the Stone Barn Farm preserve an even better community asset. Photo by Ceci Danforth.

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A workshop led by the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik was part of the Maine Land Conservation Conference. Coordinated by MCHT, the conference offered virtual workshops and an in-person, day-long event gathering 225 people to engage on topics ranging from climate change to “fearless conservation.” This is part of MCHT’s work to support and guide Maine’s broad conservation community, including the 80 land trusts working throughout the state. Photo by Regina Smith.

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Malaga Island, managed by MCHT as a preserve open to the public since 2001, was listed to the National Register of Historic Places. The 42-acre island in Phippsburg was home to a mixed-race fishing community forcibly removed by the state of Maine in 1912. Over the past several years, MCHT staff has been working with descendants of the islanders and other partners to apply for this designation. The image here was taken during a gathering on the island in 2009, around the time when the island became a site on the Maine Freedom Trail. MCHT photo.

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2023 Slideshow 09 Biddeford Pool 1600x896

Biddeford Pool Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust joined together to protect 23 acres of fine sand beach, sand dunes, and freshwater wetlands home to herons, egrets, and Atlantic piping plovers. Photo by Rooted in Light Media.

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In 2023, Joe Taft and other MCHT stewards monitored and reported on the over 300 conservation easements that MCHT holds. These legal agreements between landowners and MCHT limit development and preserve ecological and community values of land—and they’re a critical tool used to accomplish conservation goals. Easements make up around 50% of our conservation holdings (the 45,095 acres we’re responsible for monitoring and caring for). MCHT photo.

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At Old Pond Preserve in Hancock, we’re working with restoration specialists to improve the functionality of the marsh in one of the first restoration projects of its kind in Maine. As part of our Marshes for Tomorrow Initiative, an effort to save this critical habitat in a changing climate, we’re consulting partners and sharing what we learn with others caring for marshes. MCHT steward Tatia Bauer, pictured here, presented on this work with her colleague Bob DeForrest (MCHT) and Sara Williams (Downeast Salmon Federation), at Rally, the Land Trust Alliance’s annual gathering. Photo by Maine Mountain Media.

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Your support made so much possible!

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Interns at work

Supported 11 conservation interns working for land trusts throughout the state.

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More trails and campsites

Built nearly 6 miles of new trail and maintained over 105 miles of trail and 50 campsites across the coast.

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More preserves

Added 6 new MCHT preserves and expanded 2 existing preserves.

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Protected rivers

Completed 4 projects to advance our Rivers Initiative.

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Food for the community

Donated over 14,000 pounds of fresh produce from Erickson Fields and 2,500 pounds of hamburger from Aldermere Farm.

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Events and programs

Coordinated over 70 events and programs for community members and conservation colleagues, reaching over 4,200 people. Held more than 20 events for more than 700 donors and volunteers.

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More islands

Acquired 3 more coastal islands, now MCHT preserves.

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Protected marshes

Completed 6 land projects to advance our Marshes for Tomorrow Initiative.

Donations by the numbers

4,245 people gave to MCHT in 2023, with 919 giving for the first time. Welcome to MCHT! We’re so happy to have you. 381 people gave monthly, which helps us be more proactive and strategic in our conservation work. We’re grateful to have 964 people giving at The President’s Circle level, and 228 donors age 50 and under supporting this work as members of MCHT’s Next Wave.

Every dollar donated supports MCHT’s mission

  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Protect plants and animals
  • Expand access to the coast
  • Serve Maine communities

The Maine coast is a world treasure worth caring for. We’re on a mission to ensure it’s healthy, working, beautiful, and open to all.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) is a nonprofit land conservation organization protecting and caring for vital coastal lands. We’re partnering with individuals, organizations, businesses, and communities to conserve iconic islands, critical wildlife habitat, coastal watersheds, water access sites, downtown greenspaces, and beautiful places for people to explore. Our Land Trust Program supports and strengthens Maine’s entire land conservation community of over 80 land trusts.

Infographics Ann Rep 2023

Let’s map your impact!

View a detailed, printable map (604 KB PDF download) of places conserved and cared for on the coast in 2023, and stats on all that donor support made possible. Or see a version of the printed annual report (2.95 MB PDF download).

Generosity in Action, 2023

We value your gift to Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and we’re making sure it goes as far as possible for the Maine coast. For every $10 MCHT spent in 2023, $9 went directly to protecting and caring for coastal lands and islands and connecting people to the coast.

2023 Annual Report Financials

Where funds come from

  • Private Restricted Contributions & Grants (61%)
  • Investment Draw (18%)
  • Annual Fund (13%)
  • Public Restricted Grants (5%)
  • Other Revenue (3%)

The above represents a summary of how your generous contributions were spent during 2023 and the sources of funds applied. Our 2023 audited financial statements and Form 990 will be available later in 2024. A complete set of MCHT’s 2022 audited financial statements are available at mcht.org/financials.

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Thank you, donors!

Your donation empowers Maine Coast Heritage Trust and others across Maine to conserve our common ground.

Thanks for all you made possible in 2023.