From the Kennebec Journal:
A Mount Vernon couple has donated 125 acres of family land to the Kennebec Land Trust, in part so that kids might use the land to learn about wildlife and conservation.
The property, just off Route 41 in Mount Vernon, is close to the Hopkins Stream corridor.
George and Linda Smith recently donated a 125-acre family woodlot in Mount Vernon to the Kennebec Land Trust. It is called the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area, after George's father.
It’s hilly, with a mix of trees, a 50-acre wetland that includes a large vernal pool, a habitat for ducks and wading birds, and a deer wintering area, according to a news release from the Kennebec Land Trust.
The land was donated by George and Linda Smith. It previously belonged to George’s father, Ezra Smith, and the family has designated it a wildlife conservation area in Ezra Smith’s name.
Ezra Smith, “who passed away in 2014, would have been honored to know that their land was donated to the Kennebec Land Trust in his name,” according to the news release.
The Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area, as its known, will be open year-round to the public for outdoor recreation including hiking, wildlife observation, fishing and hunting, and include a parking area on Route 41.
The Kennebec Land Trust, which manages 6,248 acres of conserved land in the Augusta area, plans to add interpretive signs along a new trail through the property. The displays will draw attention to its habitats and wetlands, as well as forest management practices.
The property will serve as a demonstration site for sustainable forestry practices, according to Theresa Kerchner, executive director of the Kennebec Land Trust.
George Smith, a former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and also a longtime columnist for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, has written about the outdoors and his recent diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — among other topics.
Smith said of the donation: “Linda and I have enjoyed KLT’s trails and programs, and we chose them especially because of their commitment to teaching kids about conservation. Our woodlot will be used to teach kids about wildlife and wildlife habitat, and we’re very excited about that.”
Kennebec Land Trust staff members, interns and volunteers will be developing the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area this summer, and a dedication ceremony for the new trail is scheduled for Oct. 13.
“We are so grateful to George and Linda for donating this valuable property to the Trust,” said Mary Denison, president of the Kennebec Land Trust board of directors. “This publicly accessible conservation land will be an outdoor classroom for school students from Mount Vernon and surrounding towns where children of all ages will learn about the many values of Maine’s wetland and forested habitats.”