Dedicated to the conservation and protection of native ecosystems, farm and forestlands, watersheds,
and scenic landscapes for the benefit of wild and human communities in western Maine.
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Western Foothills Land Trust is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. | EIN# 01-6083123
WFLT PO Box 107, 445 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | 207-739-2124
Crooked River Watershed Initiative
The Crooked River is 50 miles in length, flowing from Songo Pond in Bethel through Albany, Waterford, Norway, Otisfield, Harrison, Casco and Naples, where it joins the Songo River before flowing into Sebago Lake. The Crooked River watershed, which is part of the larger Presumpscot River Basin, contains 76,000 acres of predominantly forest land in a drainage area of 275 square miles.
Western Foothills Land Trust, Loon Echo Land Trust, Greater Lovell Land Trust, and Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, along with the Portland Water District, have been leading an effort to increase public awareness and voluntary protection along the Crooked River.
The Crooked River is deemed an important project for the river’s following qualities:
• The Crooked River is the largest tributary stream flowing into Sebago Lake, providing 40% of the annual flow into the lake. Sebago Lake supports the state’s largest water utility which services 200,000 customers in 20 communities in the greater Portland area.
• The Crooked River supports one of only four known indigenous populations of landlocked Atlantic salmon in Maine and is the primary spawning and nursery area for such salmon indigenous to Sebago Lake.
• The river is entirely rated AA (highest water quality and free flowing).
• The Crooked (and larger Presumpscot) River watershed has been identified by the U.S. Forest Service as the most vulnerable drinking water reservoir watershed in the Northeastern 20 states due to the high percentage of unprotected, privately owned land.
Roberts Farm Preserve
Access: During the coldest days of this winter, timber framers Shawn Kane and Scott Vlaun set out to build the accessible ramp and deck for the warming hut at Roberts Farm Preserve. The design was relatively straightforward following ADA requirements, but their intuition, creativity and dedication to local (milling cedar for the frame off Elm Hill and the rail balusters from pine on site) created an iconic deck that will be remembered by all who visit the Preserve. Additional
construction help was provided by Alex Miller, Rocky Crockett and Fred Garbo. Funds for the project were provided by an L.L.Bean Maine Land Trust Grant and proceeds from the 2012 Norway Triathlon.
Trails: During the course of 2012 we repaired trails and added additional culverts and ditches. Thanks to President Bob Van Nest and many generous donors the Trust acquired its own all-season utility vehicle that can assist with summer trail maintenance as well as groom and track the ski trails. A volunteer cadre of Rhino operators allowed us to groom and track trails on a nearly daily basis when conditions allowed. Freshly groomed trails made a huge difference for all users, elevating the skiing experience to a professional level. Our thanks to Scott Berk, Carl Costanzi, Fred Garbo, Dave Greenleaf, Alex Miller, and Bob Van Nest.
Forest Management: The Trust has been thwarted by wet unfrozen conditions for several winters in our plans for a harvest at Roberts Preserve. Finally this winter conditions were right. Following our Forest Management Plan, a timber stand improvement project on the southern portion of Roberts Farm Preserve has been completed. Conscious of the trail system, our logger did his best to avoid impacting the snowshoe trail and to reduce crossings of the ski trail. The work has provided the Trust with needed funds and has created the possibility of an additional kilometer of ski trail along the project's twitch trail.
Equipment: SAD17's PEP grant supplied 60 pairs of Nordic skis, boots, and poles and as many or more pairs of snowshoes. Our hut's closet and shed walls were filled with equipment for
use by the school community. Weekdays the STEM Ed program, afterschool ski and snowshoe programs, homeschoolers, and independent school groups used the equipment. On weekends
volunteers staffed the hut 11–3 so that families could come and enjoy the trails together. Our thanks to OHCHS seniors Allysa Andrews and Abby Bernier for responsibly managing the
Paris Elementary after school ski program. Thanks also to Jill Gabrielsen, Sara Le Duc, Sheila and Cleon Morse, Cindy Mingle, and the Hodgkin family for staffing the hut so that families
could access equipment and warm up après ski.
Moon Valley Parcel in Harrison
With support from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (www.mnrcp.org), the Trust purchased a 14 acre retired sand pit parcel known as Moon Valley in February. Partnering with Boyle Associates, an environmental consulting firm, the Trust aims to create and enhance a variety of natural functions on the retired sand pit parcel. The Moon Valley parcel, located south of 117 in Harrison, includes 390 feet of Crooked River frontage. The Crooked River Watershed has been a conservation focus of the Trust for several years in recognition of the river's role as a significant fishery and drinking water resource. The second phase of the project will involve creation of 2.7 acres of freshwater wetlands, enhancing 1.4 acres of emergent wetlands and up-land buffer, and enhancing a 4.9 acre buffer. The wetlands work including earthwork, soil enhancement, and planting will be undertaken in late summer, early fall. A walking/snowshoe trail will be included in the design for the parcel. We hope to involve Harrison grade-schoolers in the design, creation, and stewardship of the trail. The Trust looks forward to meeting with its Moon Valley neighbors before the project is underway.
Upcoming Paris Hill Conservation Easement
Working with Jon and Carla Magoon, the Trust is nearing the completion of a conservation easement donation to protect 154 acres of woodlands and agricultural fields on Paris Hill. The easement document has been drafted, the land survey has been completed, and the baseline documentation is underway. The land, portions of which were approved for a mid nineteenth century subdivision development has a rich social history as well as significant natural resources.
Green Sap Buckets and Blue Lines Replace Wartime Oil Cans and Gutters
Roberts Farm Preserve sugar maples were tapped for the first time in 60(?) years by SAD17 students this spring. Sap was hand-carried off site and boiled down at a nearby sugar shack providing a full complement of place-based math and science lessons. Plans are being discussed to build a sap house on site in the context of an autumn timber frame building workshop.