The Woodward Point Project
Thanks to the generosity and support of many, this special place in Brunswick is now conserved. Want to learn more about how to visit and what to expect? You’ve come to the right place.
Over the past several years, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) have been working together to raise $3.5 million to protect and open to the public 87 acres at Woodward Point in Brunswick. This spring we reached that goal, and the property is now conserved.
We would like to thank the more than 150 individual donors who stepped up to contribute to this project, including special thanks to former Woodward Point landowners, Jaki Ellis and Andy Cooke, for their generosity and vision. Additionally, the following organizations, foundations, and public funding sources contributed significantly to the conservation of this spectacular property:
- Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
- Davis Conservation Foundation
- Fields Pond Foundation
- John Sage Foundation
- Libra Foundation
- Morton-Kelly Charitable Foundation
- Partridge Foundation
- R. K. Mellon Family Foundation
- State of Maine’s Land for Maine’s Future Program
- The Alfred M. Senter Fund
- Town of Brunswick
- US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
What makes Woodward Point so special?
Woodward Point is one of the few remaining undeveloped waterfront parcels of its size in Southern Maine, with 87 acres of forest and fields and over two miles of shoreline along two peninsulas on the New Meadows River in Brunswick.
In the midst of significant development in the 20th and early 21st century, the land’s more recent owners did all they could to protect the natural integrity of Woodward Point and keep the property intact. Former landowners Jaki Ellis and Andy Cook came upon the property while biking and rowing in the late 1970s. When they asked the owner at the time if they could buy a few acres to build a house, he proposed that they also take over the running of the farm.
“The people we bought the land from trusted us to take care of it and keep it as it is,” says Jaki. “We farmed it for many years. Now we want to pass this land along intact to those who can take care of it forever.”
Below is footage from the working farm, taken by the Cook-Ellis family from April through December of 1989.
Protection of this land offers incredible opportunities for locals and visitors to get outside and enjoy the coast. An estuary of national significance, it cradles two commercially important shellfish beds and provides refuge for waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, and wading birds, such as ibis and heron.
So, the place has been conserved. What happens next?
Since acquiring the land on May 1, 2019, MCHT staff and our partners from BTLT have hit the ground running preparing this place for public use. The preserve will be under construction for the next several months as we create new opportunities for recreation while protecting the natural integrity of the land and the quality of the surrounding waters.
Here are some things we’re working on…
(Updated on 8/6/2019)
The permanent parking area is complete! Please follow signs and park in the area east of the barns. If the parking area is full, please come back another day. Please do not drive past the parking area; the driveway leads to a private house. Thank you for aiding us in respecting our neighbor's privacy. The trail system begins directly across the driveway from the parking area. Please see the kiosk for more information.
We’re working on installing permanent informational signs and boundary signs. For now, temporary signs are up. Please take care and pay attention to signage. If anything appears amiss, or if you’d like more information, please contact Caitlin or Peg (info below). Please note that the barns are not open to public use.
Better water access
To make it easier to access the water, we’ll be working with contractors to install stairs at key sites along the shore in late summer (hopefully mid-August!). Until then, please pay attention to signs as some water access points will not be safe until we have a chance to install stairs. We’ll also be working on creating a hand-carry boat launch in the months to come.
We’ve got a plan in place to improve existing trails and build new trails to create the best visitor experience and protect important wildlife habitat. The current trail system is lovely, but in some cases leads to private property. Please pay attention to boundary signs and take care to stay on the preserve.
There are some basic trails in place on the eastern, central, and western peninsulas. For more information, please see the trail map at the Preserve entrance. We ask that you please bear with us while we determine the best process for mowing! Please also beware of ticks, and take precautions.
Protecting plants and animals
When MCHT conserves a place, one of the first things we do is conduct a Natural Resource Inventory—a list of all the plants and animals we find. That helps us do a better job of managing the land in a way that protects its flora and fauna, such as creating signs to educate visitors, or routing trails to avoid important wildlife habitat. We know that there are a number of porcupines living on the preserve. Please keep an eye out and steer clear of them!
A note on dogs
Dogs are welcome at Woodward Point Preserve on-leash only. Please stay on trail and take care not to disturb wildlife. Dogs are allowed on a trial basis—please be sure to pick up after them and be respectful of the land, neighbors, and other visitors so that we can continue to allow our furry friends to enjoy the preserve, too.
Getting rid of those troublesome invasives
Invasive plants—that is, plants that haven’t historically been found in Maine—can do great harm to the natural integrity of a place, and the native plants and animals who live there. We’ll be mapping invasive plants at Woodward Point and making a plan to manage invasives so that they do as little damage as possible.
Thank you for your patience while we work hard to make Woodward Point Preserve the best it can be. We encourage you to check in from time to time to learn more about how our stewardship efforts are progressing!
Mark your calendars! On September 28, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust are co-hosting the Woodward Point Opening Celebration.
Woodward Point Opening Celebration
Saturday, September 28, 2019
12 – 5 pm
Stay tuned for more information!
Questions? Concerns? Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Southern Maine Regional Steward
Assistant to Director of Stewardship
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201
Topsham, ME 04086
(207) 729-7366 | www.mcht.org
Brunswick Topsham Land Trust
56 Main Street
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-7694 | www.btlt.org