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Howard and Ida's Happy Place, Forever Protected

Stories from the Coast

Howard and Ida's Happy Place, Forever Protected

Friday, June 15, 2018

In the early 1960s, Howard and Ida Hunt made their first journey to eastern Maine looking for land.

Howard Hunt

In the Saturday Review they saw an ad for 84 acres of farmland for sale in Trescott, and not long afterward they met up with the owner, Eleanor Hurst, in her old red Willys jeep, and went to see it for themselves.

It was a rainy, foggy, windy, nasty day with no view at all. Ida fell in love.

Her son Steve remembers her saying softly, “Heathcliff, Heathcliff,” referencing Wuthering Heights as she scanned the dramatic landscape. His mother was taken with the intensity and romance of the place, while Howard appreciated the fragility of the property’s bog, and its significance in terms of water flow, drainage, and wildlife.

Ida Hunt

With their children, John, Steve, Bill, and Carol, Howard and Ida spent the better part of their summers enjoying the communities of Trescott and Lubec and the land they loved. Steve remembers the farm as the only place where his father fully relaxed.

Howard died in 2001 and Ida made it to 98 and a half, passing on in 2016. Thankfully, Howard had shared with his children the philosophical belief that “We don’t own this land, we’re just caretakers.” The concept stuck.

Over the past couple of years, the four children worked with Maine Coast Heritage Trust Project Manager Patrick Watson to protect the magical nature of the place that had meant so much to their parents.

“They would have been tickled to know the bog is conserved,” says John. The bog is indeed a special place, ranking high in the state as an exemplary raised coastal peatland and featuring a rare drainage system found at only two other sites in Maine.

MCHT acquired the land for its ecological value and plans to manage it with a light touch, following in Howard and Ida’s footsteps.

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