Maine Coast Heritage Trust Uses Partnerships to Complete a Joint Conservation and Housing Project
Release date: February 21, 2023
(February 14, 2023, Bar Harbor, Maine) Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), a statewide land conservation organization, announced today that it has completed a partnership project that resulted in the conservation of scenic stretch of shorefront that is now part of Acadia National Park. The remaining three acres of this parcel were donated to Island Housing Trust (IHT) to create year-round workforce housing.
The initial acre of land transferred to Acadia National Park includes 234 feet of shore frontage on Northeast Creek and is visible from the canoe launch and overlook on Route 3. This area provides ecologically important salt marsh habitat, which is a top priority for MCHT and its Marshes for Tomorrow Initiative. The objective of this initiative is to protect undeveloped areas surrounding current marshes so as sea level rises, these marsh systems can migrate inland.
“Northeast Creek and surrounding Fresh Meadow are treasured ecological resources in our community and although this parcel is small, it’s an important piece of the puzzle,” says MCHT senior project manager Misha Mytar. “Most all of our marsh related projects involve numerous stakeholders and yield both ecological and economic benefits for our communities, this project is no different.”
Importance to Acadia National Park
The National Park Service is authorized to acquire land by donation, exchange, or purchase for addition to Acadia National Park within the boundary established by law in 1986. MCHT works to acquire privately held land inside Acadia’s legislated boundary as it becomes available from willing sellers. “Acadia National Park is very fortunate to have a partnership with MCHT,” said Kevin Schneider, Acadia National Park Superintendent. “The addition of this land to the park will enhance the visitor experience and help protect the Northeast Creek estuary, which is one of the most biologically productive and diverse ecosystems on Mount Desert Island.”
Year-Round Workforce Housing
Real-estate values have climbed sharply on Mount Desert Island, and access to year-round housing that is affordable has become increasingly challenging for many people who work on the island and earn an average income. Over the past few years, MCHT and IHT have been able to facilitate year-round housing through partnership projects—most recently through the joint acquisition of 60-acres at the head of MDI, where MCHT conserved 30-acres of Jones Marsh wetlands and IHT is building a new workforce neighborhood which will provide 10 energy-efficient, year-round homes.
“All along the coast, communities are in desperate need of housing,” says Marla O’Byrne IHT executive director. “We have a terrific partner in Maine Coast Heritage Trust and are grateful for their commitment to this community. This latest partnership project is a win-win for workforce housing and for conservation.”
About Maine Coast Heritage Trust
MCHT is a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from preserving coastal access for communities to high impact ecological work focused on reconnecting waterways and improving coastal resiliency to climate change. MCHT began on Mount Desert Island in 1970 and continues to serve as the local land trust for the MDI community with over two dozen preserves in the area. Since it began, MCHT has become a leader in Maine’s nationally renowned land conservation efforts and maintains a growing network of almost 150 coastal and island preserves coastwide—free and open to everyone. MCHT also leads the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network to ensure that land conservation provides benefits to all Maine communities. Get involved at www.mcht.org.
About Island Housing Trust
Island Housing Trust is an innovative nonprofit organization supporting viable, year-round island communities by advancing permanent workforce housing on Mount Desert Island. IHT homes are protected by covenants, keeping the homes affordable to MDI’s workforce in perpetuity.
Since 2003, Island Housing Trust has completed 54 homeownership projects serving over 150 adults and children on Mount Desert Island. IHT holds covenants on 43 homes and has overseen the successful re-sale of several of these properties at below market prices to qualified households working on MDI.