All of us at Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) mourn the loss of David Rockefeller Sr. and extend heartfelt condolences to his family. Among his many global interests and pursuits, the coast of Maine held a special place in David’s heart. His wife, Peggy, was a founder of MCHT in 1970 and the two of them left a lasting legacy of conservation in Maine.
Avid sailors, David and Peggy had a unique perspective of Maine’s spectacular coast, providing an inspiration to conserve it for all to enjoy. David’s contributions to coastal conservation were as diverse as they were significant.
In addition to being a steadfast financial supporter of MCHT, David was generous in his support of many other local, state, and national conservation groups including Friends of Acadia here in Maine. David also made several gifts of coastal land and conservation easements over a period of several decades in Maine. In 1973, David and Peggy donated the very first conservation easement drafted by MCHT (held by Acadia National Park) at Buckle Island off Swan’s Island. One of his more spectacular land gifts to MCHT was the donation of Rich’s Head on Frenchboro Long Island. This 192-acre parcel was a special addition to MCHT’s Frenchboro Preserve, which is open to the public.
Since its early role in the creation of Acadia National Park, the Rockefeller Family always had a keen interest in conserving lands on and around Mount Desert Island and making them available to the public. Part of this effort included David’s work with MCHT to create public access at a number of sites on the island including popular local destinations at Lower Day Mountain and Hunter’s Beach. One of his most important gifts to MCHT and to the public was the permanent protection of Little Long Pond in 1993 and guaranteeing public access to its extensive trails and carriage roads.
After his wife Peggy’s passing in 1996, David was inspired to honor her conservation achievements by directing gifts in her memory to MCHT, culminating in the protection of the Hamilton Cove Preserve on the Bold Coast in Lubec.
“David Rockefeller extended a family legacy of conservation that is without parallel in the world,” says MCHT President Tim Glidden. “Maine is fortunate to have had such a friend, dedicated to ensuring that the state’s rich natural heritage is available to all and secure for all generations to come. We at Maine Coast Heritage Trust are grateful for the opportunity to have been one of the many channels through which Mr. Rockefeller pursued his and Peggy’s vision of a better world with such stunning generosity.”