A Developer Reflects on the Conservation of Boot Head Preserve

In June of 2019, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Boot Head Preserve was featured in Down East magazine’s “Where in Maine” column.

Many in the know reached out to Down East when they saw Laurence Parent’s stunning photo, and the editor published their favorite letter in the following edition. The letter, written by Andrew Sturgeon, offers unique insight into the special conservation story of Boot Head Preserve.

See the letter in Down East magazine, or check it out below.

The Where in Maine picture in the June edition caught my attention immediately and brought me back to a different time in my life. The excitement of the day our company purchased this beautiful piece of earth was indescribable; imagine having the opportunity to own this property through a series of up-and-down events and in a very complicated real estate transaction. What were we going to do with it was not certain, but we knew it was a unique piece of Maine coastline second to none in beauty and value.

We hired surveyors and soil scientists who helped us come up with a plan to develop the property into about 10 parcels. Our vision included a development of very large lots that would allow private ownership yet essentially preserve the natural state of the 3-mile stretch of shoreline. There would only be one home for every third of a mile. When our studies came back, it became very apparent that even though the property sat upon very high cliffs, with little private beaches tucked along the shoreline, the soils did not allow for private septic systems, therefore we could not create individual home sites. The real estate market was declining, and our visions of further development were fading fast.

A visitor enjoys the trails at Boot Head Preserve.

Just as we were regrouping and looking at alternate options for development, Maine Coast Heritage Trust entered the picture as a possible purchaser of our property. I believe a short article in Down East that described the development as a terrible option for the future of this land caught the attention of MCHT and eventually brought us to the bargaining table to work out a scenario where we sold the property to them and they, in turn, placed conservation easements, preserving its natural state. Looking back on this from my home near the coastline of the midcoast, I can say honestly that I’m proud of how Boot Cove was preserved in its entirety and became available for the public to experience. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in this, the most beautiful state in our country. Thank you, Maine Coast Heritage Trust. — Andrew Sturgeon, Topsham, Maine

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