Full of Hope for the Next 50 Years of MCHT

This time last year, we were pulling together pieces for the fall newsletter announcing Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s 50th anniversary. Perhaps you remember it? The cover of that edition was a collage of 50 images ranging from Bold Coast landscapes to portraits of smiling kids to hands unearthing root vegetables from conserved soil. It was bright and hopeful. I found it humbling and inspiring to think back on all MCHT has accomplished through decades of extraordinary generosity and hard work. Equally, I was excited to share MCHT’s vision for 2020 and the years to come.

Of course, nothing could have prepared any of us for 2020. At best, this year has been trying. At worst, devastating. Personally, working for MCHT—working on behalf of this coast and the people who live, work, and play here—buoyed me. At every turn, I was reminded of our work to create value: more public access to coastal lands, stronger coastal communities, and a coast more resilient—more adaptable—to climate change.

In 2020, MCHT preserves were busier than we’ve ever seen them, and the need for more access to the coast was stark. I’m proud to say that as I write this, weeks before you’re reading it, we have completed 26 public access projects so far this year. While the national dialogue around climate change remains roiled, here in Maine, MCHT got to work, completing one of its most significant salt marsh protection projects to date and making headway in other efforts to protect critical salt marsh systems on the coast—an initiative that’s sustaining the integrity of our coastal ecosystems and economies in this changing climate. Your MCHT has not slowed down.

Since MCHT’s beginning in the year of the first Earth Day, we’ve been on a mission to keep the coast open, healthy, working, and beautiful. What we do hasn’t changed all that much, but how we do it has certainly evolved over time, and we continue to evolve to meet the unique challenges of today and tomorrow. Despite the trials and tribulations of this year, when I think about the next 50 years of MCHT, my outlook remains bright and hopeful. I think about all the generous people who love this place, who come together to protect and care for it again and again. If you’ve been with us along the way, thank you. If you’ve been on the sidelines, now’s the time to get in the game. If last year’s fall newsletter was a celebration of the past 50 years, this one is the kick-off to the next 50. Let’s make them count.