Stewardship and Ownership

RRCT Ownership

RRCT has conserved more than 5,300 acres since 1988. Our various conservation successes include a wide range of deeds and project structures, especially fee simple ownership (RRCT-owned preserves), conservation easements, assistance on state or local conservation acquisitions, and trail or access easements.

Our success since 1988 includes 11 RRCT-owned preserves totaling roughly 1000 acres; creation or expansion of 7 town-owned preserves (RRCT assists); help in 7 state-owned state park and wildlife area expansions (RRCT assists); and creation of 60 RRCT conservation easements including 7 working farm conservation easements.

We describe and publish information on our ownership in several different formats

Please contact us with any requests for most-recent information, or more detailed information or tables on our conservation files.

RRCT Stewardship

Stewardship is the on-going, long-term commitment of time and resources to the conservation of land, and its implementation is essential to RRCT’s ability to protect land in the future.

A major component of land trust stewardship includes annually ensuring that the terms of conservation easements are met, and helping landowners meet those terms. On land that we own, stewardship also entails managing invasive plants, maintaining trails and public access, developing property management plans, and ensuring that ongoing land uses do not jeopardize the ecological integrity of the landscape.

In all of these endeavors, RRCT’s Stewardship program welcomes the time and energy of volunteers. RRCT’s Trail Crew is a key effort to coordinate many volunteers, working together on key trails. RRCT’s new (2022) Volunteer Steward program is another way for volunteers to engage and provide more independent stewardship of a particular preserve with plenty of staff and committee support.

RRCT strives to practice exemplary stewardship of its lands, always protecting ecological values and when appropriate and feasible, inviting compatible human uses. Important components of our stewardship program includes development of a local land ethic, community involvement, outreach programs, and a focus on the quality of each visitor’s experiences at our preserves. Our organization also focuses on advocacy and programming for the stewardship of water resources and more.

Funding for land stewardship efforts comes in part from donations from members, and in part through our commitment to long-term Stewardship Reserve Funds — including our small endowment. With each land acquisition, by policy, we set aside funding to add to long-term Stewardship Reserve Funds. Often these funds come as part of a land acquisition campaign, or as a land acquisition budget which is funded by our rolling Land Acquisition Fund.

Invasive Species Management

One of the most severe and pervasive threats to the ecological integrity of our lands and waters is the presence of invasive species, usually introduced from outside of the North American continent. These exotic invasive species tend to grow prolifically with no natural control (predation/herbivory), allowing them to outcompete native species. This reduces native biodiversity and decreases food and shelter opportunities for wildlife.

Our stewards, volunteers, trail users, and preserve neighbors can be a great help in monitoring for and combating invasive species. While invasive threats include plants, animals (including insects), and pathogens, invasive plants currently pose the most acute threat to our preserves. The Maine Natural Areas Program maintains a list of common invasive plants, found here. Some of the most common invasives we see/treat include: Asiatic bittersweet, Japanese barberry, glossy buckthorn, multiflora rose, Japanese knotweed, and shrubby honeysuckle.

Please reach out to steward@rrct.org if you are interested in helping to pull invasive plants on RRCT’s properties. In 2023, we plan to focus significant efforts on such mechanical removals in early-mid spring.

RRCT employs contractors for certain cases of invasive species control, but it truly requires an all-hands-on-deck effort with volunteers playing a key role.