Howard and Ida’s Happy Place, Forever Protected
In the early 1960s, Howard and Ida Hunt made their first journey to eastern Maine looking for land.
In the Saturday Review they saw an ad for 84 acres of farmland for sale in Trescott, and not long afterward they met up with the owner, Eleanor Hurst, in her old red Willys jeep, and went to see it for themselves.
It was a rainy, foggy, windy, nasty day with no view at all. Ida fell in love.
Her son Steve remembers her saying softly, “Heathcliff, Heathcliff,” referencing Wuthering Heights as she scanned the dramatic landscape. His mother was taken with the intensity and romance of the place, while Howard appreciated the fragility of the property’s bog, and its significance in terms of water flow, drainage, and wildlife.
With their children, John, Steve, Bill, and Carol, Howard and Ida spent the better part of their summers enjoying the communities of Trescott and Lubec and the land they loved. Steve remembers the farm as the only place where his father fully relaxed.
Howard died in 2001 and Ida made it to 98 and a half, passing on in 2016. Thankfully, Howard had shared with his children the philosophical belief that “We don’t own this land, we’re just caretakers.” The concept stuck.
Over the past couple of years, the four children worked with Maine Coast Heritage Trust Project Manager Patrick Watson to protect the magical nature of the place that had meant so much to their parents.
“They would have been tickled to know the bog is conserved,” says John. The bog is indeed a special place, ranking high in the state as an exemplary raised coastal peatland and featuring a rare drainage system found at only two other sites in Maine.
MCHT acquired the land for its ecological value and plans to manage it with a light touch, following in Howard and Ida’s footsteps.
More Stories from the Coast
Over the past six years, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked with partners to complete 36 marsh protection projects from York to Washington counties, conserving a total of about 1,800 acres of marsh and upland buffers.
MCHT collaborates with The Community School to protect important habitat and create permanent outdoor education space on Mount Desert Island.
Protecting connected habitats is key to making the coast more resilient to climate change, and healthy, free-flowing rivers are among the most important types of connected habitats.
MCHT helped conserve a few downtown acres in Milbridge in 2017. Four years later, this land has been transformed into the Milbridge Commons Wellness Park—a place where people can walk by the water, play, and pick free produce.
With the conservation of Sheep Island, MCHT offers a trio of great island preserves in Owls Head.