A new preserve on the banks of the Penobscot River in Prospect was officially formed on March 29, due to a collaboration between the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust and Coastal Mountains Land Trust. This new Penobscot Shore Preserve, currently covering 47 acres, was gifted to Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust in 2016 by Elizabeth Wemett through her will in honor of her aunt, Mary Lord.
“When we went and looked at it, our land trust decided it was special enough to conserve,” said Cheri Domina, Executive Director of Great Pond Mountain Land Trust. “It’s a lovely piece of shoreline, and it’s not very common around here to be able to take a walk in the woods down to the Penobscot River on public land.”
The preserve is not yet open to the public, but both land trusts are working to prepare it for safe public access.
“This is our first standalone preserve in Prospect,” said Ian Stewart, Executive Director of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. “We’d like to open it as soon as we can. I think we’ll be shooting to have some kind of trail in there this fall.”
Located on the Bowden Point Road, the preserve includes more than 1,800 feet of forested shorefront along the Penobscot River that is an important corridor for wildlife using the river. The land also offers scenic views of the river and of the adjacent Bucksport waterfront.
The property is technically outside of Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust’s service region, which extends west only to Bucksport and Verona Island, so the land trust reached out to the neighboring Coastal Mountains Land Trust to see if it would be interested in becoming the long-term steward of the land. Coastal Mountain Land Trust took a look at the scenic waterfront property and agreed to take part in its protection.
Before constructing any trails on the property, Coastal Mountains Land Trust plans to conduct an ecological survey to identify any natural or historical features that may need to be protected and develop a management plan. The property includes old foundations and roads, as well as a possible grave site, that will be researched.
After the survey, the land trust will likely plan and construct 1-mile loop trail that travel through the forest and along the banks of the river, Stewart said.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust has worked since 1986 to permanently conserve land to benefit the natural and human communities of the western Penobscot Bay. The Land Trust has protected over 10,000 acres to date, offering 40 miles of trails for public access.
Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust has conserved land, water and wildlife habitat for the communities of northwestern Hancock County since 1993. GPMCT owns and manages the 4,500-acre Great Pond Mountain Wildlands in Orland, and has conserved an additional 200 acres for wildlife habitat and public recreation in Bucksport, Orland and Lucerne.