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Public Access and Outdoor Programming Expanded

Stories from the Coast

Public Access and Outdoor Programming Expanded

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The new wellness trail at Erickson Fields Preserve

In 2015, Maine Coast Heritage Trust enhanced public access to conserved lands and expanded outdoor programming to enrich the lives and benefit the health of thousands of Mainers. Through a diverse set of projects, MCHT improved existing or established new access at more than two dozen sites—places ideal for activities such as hiking, hunting, public gardening, and fishing.

“Conserved lands benefit Maine people in so many ways,” shared MCHT’s President Tim Glidden. “This year, Maine Coast Heritage Trust stepped up as never before, enhancing visitor experience at our preserves and finding new partners to broaden the benefits of our work.

MCHT worked with PenBay Medical and other local groups to develop a walking path focused on health at our Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. “You’d be amazed how many people are using the Wellness Trail already—there’s a real need for this kind of thing,” shared Bob White, a neighbor who volunteered to build a kiosk at the trailhead. In 2015, MCHT also conserved adjacent land that will be used to connect visitors with the nearby Beech Hill Preserve (a popular Coastal Mountains Land Trust property MCHT helped to protect in 2003).

Early morning campsite on Whaleboat Island

At our Whaleboat, Lanes, and Goslings Islands preserves in Casco Bay, MCHT expanded group campsites and infrastructure to accommodate local scouts, commercial outfitters and others from the general public. “Group campsites on islands are hard to find, so we are very pleased to make these available, especially in the most heavily populated region of the state,” said Amanda Devine, MCHT’s Regional Steward. “A new online reservation system made signing up easy, with more than 50 groups using the sites in 2015.”

In Milbridge, MCHT partnered with a local group to conserve a downtown waterfront parcel for the purpose of establishing a public community garden. “We hope to revive the strong downeast tradition of family gardening and acquaint area students with that tradition—without this land we couldn’t do it,” explained Pam Dyer Stewart of the Milbridge Woman’s Health Resource Library, a driving force behind the initiative.

“All of these projects exemplify the diversity of benefits land conservation groups are providing to all Maine residents and communities across the state,” Glidden reflected. “We are grateful to all of the individuals, partners and supporters that made this work possible.”

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