(Source: Kennebec Land Trust )
Hutchinson Pond property in Manchester.
WINTHROP — In December, the Kennebec Land Trust purchased two conservation parcels — an 8-acre addition to Mount Pisgah Conservation Area in Winthrop and a 43-acre addition to Vassalboro Wildlife Habitat — with the financial support of members and businesses.
According to a KLT press release, fundraising continues for these acquisitions.
In addition, according to a press release, KLT became the owner last week of 81 acres, with wildlife habitat and more than 1,600 feet of undeveloped shoreline on Hutchinson Pond in Manchester.
Long on KLT's list of priority conservation properties, the Hutchinson Pond property was transferred to the trust as mitigation for wetlands alterations necessitated by CMP's recent grid expansion.
"We are pleased to add three parcels, 132 acres in total, to existing protected lands. It is a goal of the land trust to consolidate larger parcels, providing maximum protection for the plants, animals and people who inhabit them," said KLT President Cheryl Harrington.
Mt. Pisgah Conservation Area is comprised of more than 700 acres of mountain and valley, woodlands and wetlands. It provides public opportunities for walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and hunting.
Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area (known as Fire Tower parcel) is owned by the town of Winthrop, with a conservation easement held by KLT. The trust and the town work together on trail maintenance and stewardship, according to the release. KLT's new parcel enhances existing trails, since a blue-blazed hiking trail is close to a boundary on the current Fire Tower property.
The 330-acre Vassalboro Wildlife Habitat offers public access to trails and a half-mile of shoreline on Webber Pond. The trails, which volunteers maintain, are available for walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the release stated. The new parcel connects two large forested sections of the property, creating a valuable wildlife habitat corridor.
The Hutchinson Pond property has wildlife habitat values, scenic undeveloped frontage, and proximity to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's Jamies Pond and KLT's Bog Pond conservation areas. The property will be managed for the benefit of wildlife and for recreation. Using stewardship funds donated by CMP, KLT will maintain open fields for woodcock and other priority species, including chestnut-sided warblers, brown thrashers, eastern towhees and field sparrows. After ecological inventories are complete, the trust said it plans to install a parking area with signage and a trail system.
"These parcels add considerably to the conservation values of adjacent KLT holdings and prove out the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," said John Melrose, Vassalboro Wildlife Habitat steward and fundraising campaign co-chairperson.
The Kennebec Land Trust manages its lands and offers education programs through the efforts of staff, its 750 members, and other volunteers. The Pisgah and Vassalboro campaigns are ongoing. Contributions may be mailed to: Kennebec Land Trust, P.O. Box 261, Winthrop, ME 04364.
To donate online to either conservation property, to join, or for information on the trust, visit tklt.org or call KLT at 377-2848.