Campaign to Protect Lower Gloucester Village, the Little League Fields & the Intervale

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve and invest in 180 acres for habitat, history, and human connection.

With treasured iconic historic buildings and sites, Lower Gloucester Village is one of the gems of southern Maine. The village occupies a hillside overlooking the Intervale, some of the richest ecology and habitat of the Royal River watershed with wading bird habitat, wild trout streams, rare plants, and vast wetlands. Between the village and the wetlands is a softball field, with room for expansion. Working together, the Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) and Gray-New Gloucester Little League (GNGLL) are raising funds to purchase a 180-acre parcel that includes the softball field, woods and trails in the village, and streams and habitat for traditional access. Neighbors in this rural corner of Cumberland County are working together to retain rich heritage, habitat, and human connections.

Give Now! Invest in the Future of Lower New Gloucester Village, the Little League Fields, and the Intervale

RRCT and GNGLL are jointly raising funds to acquire 180 acres, and to invest in trails, ball fields, ecological restoration, and public access. At the end of the campaign, GNGLL will roughly own 10 acres where two new ball fields will be built. RRCT will own the village woods and trails and the expanded Intervale Preserve (adding approximately 170 acres to its existing 128-acre preserve. Beyond this acquisition, other landowners are donating additional acreage toward the preserve.

All gifts to the Campaign to Protect Lower Gloucester Village, the Little League Fields, and the Intervale are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

The Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 010472430).

Gray-New Gloucester Little League (GNGLL) also is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 010481674)

WAYS TO GIVE:

  • Gifts by credit or debit card: Fill out the form below:

  • Gift by check: Checks should be payable to the Royal River Conservation Trust, the fiscal agent for the joint campaign with GNGLL. Please specify if you’d like your donation to specifically support one aspect of the project.

Mail checks to: Royal River Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 90, Yarmouth, ME 04096

  • Gifts of Appreciated Stock, or IRA Distributions: A gift of appreciated securities or a gift of IRA distributions can have additional tax benefits for the donor. Please contact RRCT Executive Director Alan Stearns at (207) 215-8315 or Alan@RRCT.org to discuss these options or to get information on RRCT’s broker for any transfer.

  • Company or Corporate Donations: We will gratefully recognize business donors to this campaign as Royal River Conservation Trust Business Partners and Little League Corporate Sponsors. On campaign materials we will acknowledge companies that donate $5,000 or more as “Lead Business Donors to the Lower Gloucester Village Campaign” – and those that contribute at the $10,000 level or more as “Royal Leaders” through RRCT’s Business Partnership Program.

For questions or information about the campaign, please contact:

Alan Stearns, Royal River Conservation Trust, Executive Director – Campaign Co-Chair.

Royal River Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 90, Yarmouth, ME 04096 ● Alan@RRCT.org ●cell (207)215-8315

Mark Power, New Gloucester resident – Campaign Co-Chair ● MPower@trane.com

Nate Stone, GNGLL President – Campaign Co-Chair ● president@gnglittleleague.org

Steve Libby, GNGLL, Campaign Co-Chair ● stevenmlibby@portlandinsulation.net

Maps: Lower Gloucester Village, Little League Fields and Intervale Project Maps

Easily printed 8.5″ x 11″ project map (PDF),or scroll below to see this same map in jpg format. The 180 acre campaign parcel is depicted in burnt orange.

Aerial and natural resource project map (PDF), or scroll very far below to see this same map in jpg format.

History: Early Settlers and Land Ownership

This parcel and its trails present remarkable opportunities for historic interpretation and preservation. The Chandler family acquired this land in 1850. They had settled across the street in 1762 and have remained through the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The campaign parcel acreage includes portions of the lot that was cleared in the 1750’s for the New Gloucester Blockhouse, a battleground during the French and Indian Wars. The Chandler family, descended from the Pilgrims of Plymouth and early settlers of old North Yarmouth, included Revolutionary War tavern owners, patriots, and soldiers.

With access from the center of the historic village, this parcel abuts historic homes and churches, the library, and the town hall, all connected by the historic Portland-Lewiston Interurban rail bed (now a pedestrian trail).

Downhill in the Intervale, the parcel includes land near the historic train station on the Maine Central (now Pan Am) Railroad. Stevens Brook which runs through the parcel, was the site of the first sawmill of the initial Anglo settlers. The open meadows and marshes on the parcel were first a town common (Proprietry) that produced a communal harvest of hay and straw, and later divided into small agricultural lots in the Proprietor’s First Division.

The Portland-Lewiston Interurban Historic Electric Railroad

The Portland-Lewiston Interurban historic electric railroad ran through the Chandler parcel from 1914 to 1933, stopping in New Gloucester at three different platforms. The Interurban was considered one of Maine’s finest railways. A freight shed (passenger station) was situated the top of the hill after the Penney Road platform, located on the Chandler parcel. The freight shed (passenger station) pictured above is the restored Morrison Freight Shed that was located in West Falmouth. The shed on the Chandler parcel probably looked quite similar.

The Interurban ran successfully until the increase of motor vehicles and the construction of a highway connecting Portland and Lewiston. Today, a trail remains where the Interurban railway ran across the Chandler parcel. It is currently a snowmobile trail. We hope to restore the bridges that run over the brooks and envision a trail that can help to preserve the rich history of the railway while being used throughout the year by walkers, runners, skiers, and snowmobilers.

Habitat: Lower Gloucester Natural Resources and Ecology

The 180-acre Chandler parcel includes some of the highest value fish, wildlife, and birding habitat in the Royal River watershed. It is contiguous to RRCT’s existing 128-acre Intervale Preserve which includes 28 acres of town-owned marsh donated to RRCT in August 2019. The Chandler parcel’s open marshes and beaver ponds support wading birds and waterfowl. The large wetland complex on the property is a component of an even larger wetland complex that is riparian to the Royal River. Stevens Brook and tributary streams support wild brook trout. Additionally, the lower acres of the property include mature oaks and pines thriving due to inaccessibility for logging over the last century.

Human Connection: Trails, Gray- New Gloucester Little League Field

Conservation of the Chandler parcel will continue traditions of access for fishing, hunting, and all-season trails, including two existing regional snowmobile trails. This property also includes the Gray-New Gloucester Little League’s current softball field. Our campaign seeks funding to acquire and reconstruct this field, and to build up to two more ball fields. Improving and expanding the facilities will benefit girls’ softball, boys’ baseball, and use by all community groups and people of all ages and abilities. Lastly, the parcel is directly across the street from the New Gloucester Congregational Church, a cultural anchor for the Lower Village. Trails will connect the church to the New Gloucester Village Store, Stevens Brook, and the woods and hillside, and the Intervale.

Lower Gloucester Village Project Budget, Contacts and Project Support

Budget: To Be Determined:

We are still in the early stages of project development, with pending capital budgets for ball field improvements, trail development, and more. Please stay tuned!

At this point, our primary tasks include connecting to neighbors to develop a vision for the Chandler parcel and adjacent smaller parcels. Please reach out to us for any reason, and return to this site for updated information soon!

The New Gloucester Board of Selectmen unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Royal River Conservation Trust’s and the Gray- New Gloucester Little League’s Lower Gloucester Village, Little League and Intervale project on July 1, 2019. Read: Unanimous resolve of the Selectmen, July 1, 2019 to learn more.

Alan Stearns, Royal River Conservation Trust, Executive Director – Campaign Co-Chair.

Royal River Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 90, Yarmouth, ME 04096 ● Alan@RRCT.org ●cell (207) 215-8315

Mark Power, New Gloucester resident – Campaign Co-Chair ● MPower@trane.com

Nate Stone, GNGLL President – Campaign Co-Chair ● president@gnglittleleague.org

Steve Libby, GNGLL, Campaign Co-Chair ● stevenmlibby@portlandinsulation.net