Saving Land & Land Acquisition Reserve Fund

We are working to conserve more land. RRCT is working to conserve strategic parcels of land in the Royal River watershed, both on the river and its tributaries, and elsewhere in the local communities we serve. Our priorities for new conservation successes include trail connections, habitat corridors, farmland, water access points, and expansion of state and local parks and preserves. We have adopted conservation plans, and many tools and strategies to work with landowners.

We’re conserving more land to guarantee healthy communities for future generations. Without initiatives to conserve land, our communities may lose public access to some of the Royal River’s most special places. Growing communities require more open space, clean water, protected habitat, and protected farms. Today’s generation can act before it’s too late. We want children in our communities to grow up exploring the outdoors, and to develop a love and respect for our natural environment.

RRCT’s Land Acquisition Reserve Fund. RRCT established this reserve fund (rolling fund) with private charitable donations to build strong momentum to allow us to lean into land acquisition or conservation easement possibilities. Even as we raise new money, we are also spending from the fund each time we reach agreement with landowners on new conservation projects. Most donations aren’t credited toward a specific parcel, but rather contribute toward a pool funding any acquisition project when it emerges or ripens. Donations to this fund leverage landowner donations and other funds. Some donors prefer to fund specific parcels, and we can structure donations accordingly. Funds go toward land acquisition project budgets, following board votes on specific parcel budgets. By adopted board policy, RRCT sets aside a portion of each acquisition budget (roughly 10%) for long-term stewardship funds that we invest to generate income to care for our  properties in perpetuity. If you are interested in a donation to this Land Acquisition Reserve Fund or a specific property or project, simply make a note with your donation, or contact RRCT Executive Director Alan Stearns with any questions or input.

The fund recognizes the many opportunities for conservation acquisitions as our communities grow and thrive. With a strong Land Acquisition Reserve Fund, we can seize these opportunities when they arise, and get a head-start on larger strategic campaigns for specific parcels.

We need your support today. Please support us by contributing generously to the RRCT Land Acquisition Reserve Fund. Today (December 2020) we have several active acquisition projects, all requiring Land Acquisition Reserve Fund donations to bring them to completion:

In New Gloucester’s Lower Village (Intervale Preserve expansion), an ongoing campaign for land stewardship and trail reconstruction for 174 acres acquired on July 16, 2021.

In Pownal, to conserve 57 acres off Upper Minot Road, added to existing RRCT ownership, to create the 75-acre Thoit’s Branch Headwaters Preserve. Donations to the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund will cover the $30,000 purchase price as well as needed stewardship funds.

In Yarmouth, working with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Freeport Conservation Trust, to conserve a key parcels with frontage on the Cousins River marshes, all part of our joint Cousins River Watershed Initiative. Checks should be payable directly to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for the Cousins River Fields & Marsh parcel.

Not all of our projects are public due to quiet landowner and funder dialog. We are always interested in working quietly with landowners who seek to conserve their own land, or neighborhoods working on a comprehensive vision. We will soon announce plans for (or completion of) several active projects, while others remain quiet.  These are projects we are advancing:

  • To expand conserved corridors between Bradbury and Pineland, especially in Pownal.
  • To conserve a shoreline parcel on the Royal in North Yarmouth, adjacent to an existing preserve.
  • To secure additional shoreline habitat on the Royal River in New Gloucester, and to continue to expand the Intervale Preserve.
  • To expand the Pisgah Hill Preserve in both Pownal and New Gloucester.
  • To expand conservation land and habitat surrounding Durham’s Runaround Pond.
  • To expand conservation and habitat adjacent to the Knight’s Pond Preserve, and to secure trail connections from North Yarmouth village to Knight’s Pond, working closely with the Town of North Yarmouth.
  • To expand the Big Falls Preserve in New Gloucester and Auburn.

Various projects that we completed between 2019 and 2021 involve expansions of existing preserves, and protection of ponds at the headwaters of the Royal River and elsewhere:

  1. In July 2021 RRCT acquired 174 acres as part of the larger ongoing Lower Village project (Intervale Preserve expansion)
  2. Stay tuned for details on a now-completed 2021 land conservation acquisition in North Yarmouth (Cluff Road).
  3. In December 2020 RRCT accepted the donation of 4.5 acres of land surrounding New Gloucester’s Blockhouse, as part of the larger ongoing Lower Village project (Intervale Preserve expansion)
  4. In August 2020 RRCT accepted the donation of land that is now the Mèmak Preserve in North Yarmouth
  5. In February 2020 RRCT acquired two parcels totaling six acres on Meadow Brook adjacent to Maine DIFW’s Irving F. Thurston Wildlife Marsh off Woodman Road in New Gloucester, effectively expanding DIFW’s wildlife area.
  6. In October 2019 we closed on a 3-acre expansion of the Elmwood Trail corridor, part of the Bradbury-to-Pineland conservation and recreation matrix. Online maps are updated! The new conservation land gives us options to improve trail location, off-road parking, and traffic safety.
  7. In August 2019 we closed on an 28-acre expansion of the Intervale Preserve in New Gloucester, accepting the donation of seven remote  marsh parcels. Online maps are updated! The expansion sets the stage for our larger project (above) in the Intervale and Lower Gloucester Village.
  8. In July 2019, working with the Town of Yarmouth, we helped create a new 50-acre Riverfront Woods Preserve by expanding the existing Hilda Barker Preserve on the Royal River, with habitat, shoreline, and public access benefits, by acquiring an adjacent parcel owned by members of the Dugas family.
  9. In March 2019, we acquired 11 acres of forest adjacent to the Chesley Meadows Preserve at Runaround Pond, expanding that preserve.  Simultaneously, we acquired an 11 acre agricultural conservation easement on a pasture (we call this pasture “Old Crow Ranch II“) abutting the Chesley Meadows Preserve, supporting local agriculture while also providing a scenic buffer to the preserve.

Contact us for more information on these and other projects, or if you are interested in a conservation strategy for land you own or love.  The entirety of our ownership — including recent closings above — is described on our Stewardship & Ownership page.

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