The Gift of Old Point
The conservation story of Old Point officially begins in 1975, when Elizabeth and H Keffer Hartline, former owners of the Lamoine property, decided to protect its woodlands and shoreline through the first of two conservation easements, legal agreements permanently limiting development. Forty-five years later, in March of 2020, their three sons and their families gifted this land to Maine Coast Heritage Trust to own and manage as a public preserve.
“Our parents deeply loved Acadia, Old Point, and Maine,” offer the Hartlines. “They passed on to our generation their feelings and attachment to Maine’s wonderful nature-scapes.” Now, through their gift, the Hartlines have given countless others the opportunity to know and fall in love with this land as well.
The 107-acre property dips down into the top of Frenchman Bay. From the sandy-pebble beaches and bold ledges, the view is of Mount Desert Island and numerous other conserved lands, including MCHT’s Thomas Island Preserve, the Twinnies, and Hadley Point. Bob DeForrest, the MCHT project manager who worked closely working with the Hartlines over the past several years, says it’s a great addition for paddlers in the area.
“You can park at Hadley Point, go up to Thomas Island, paddle around the Twinnies and come across to land on the beach on the west side of Old Point,” says Bob. In the months and years to come, MCHT’s stewardship department will work to improve access to the preserve from the mainland by putting up signs, enhancing trails, adding parking, and more. The land and surrounding waters are also important ecologically, providing habitat for tidal waterfowl and wading birds along with other wildlife.
For the Hartlines, these creatures provided endless fascination, and even inspired several poems published in a book by Elizabeth and H Keffer called Acadian Haiku. In one of many simple and striking poems about Old Point, Elizabeth Hartline writes, “Light and wind waning -/Sovereign in a saffron cove/An ebon heron.”
On the third page of that same book, there is a pen-and-ink drawing of the Point, bay, birds, and moon with the handwritten words, “To celebrate wild lands.” That seems to be something of a family credo. “There’s a multi-generational conviction,” offer the Hartlines, “that our increasingly frenetic and urbanized world needs to remain connected to nature and each of us needs to help protect it.” And so they have offered all of us Old Point.
More Stories from the Coast
In a changing climate, protecting connected woods and waters becomes increasingly important to help plants and animals survive.
“I immediately fell in love with the people and the land and now I want to do whatever I can to help out.”
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.