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Stories from the Coast

Saltwater Farm in Bernard Conserved for Public Access

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

10-Acre Property near Bass Harbor Holds Lots of Potential for Community Activities

kelley-farm-40.jpgMaine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) recently acquired a 10-acre saltwater farm in Bernard. With support from donors to its recent Mount Desert Island Land Conservation Initiative, MCHT purchased the property from the Kelley family who have lived there for over half a century. The property is almost entirely open fields, which slope gently down to Cousins Creek in upper Bass Harbor. Mowed paths lead from the homestead area near Route 102 to the top of a hill with stunning views of the western mountains of MDI. “We look forward to working with the local community and opening this property for a wide variety of public uses. In fact, we understand that the hill was once a popular sledding spot and hope to see families sledding there again this winter,” said Misha Mytar, MCHT Land Project Manager for MDI. “We are grateful to the Kelley family for choosing conservation for this beautiful land.”

The property includes an old farmhouse and barn. The barn is beyond repair and will be removed. Over the upcoming year, MCHT will be exploring options for the future of the farmhouse. The property has been home to vegetable gardens over the years, including a small community garden. There is great potential to expand this use and perhaps provide other agricultural opportunities. MCHT’s MDI Land Steward Billy Helprin, along with Mytar, will be setting up community meetings in the coming months to explore these and other possibilities for this property. For more information, call MCHT’s Somesville Office at 244-5100 and ask to speak with Misha or Billy.

In reflecting on the project, the Kelley family expressed a positive view of the outcome, “We are pleased to pass on one of the last saltwater farms in the area to the care of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust to protect and preserve this beloved piece of property for future generations of people and wildlife to discover and enjoy.”

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