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Western Foothills Land Trust Purchases 83-Acres of Land Creating the Oxford Forest Preserve

(Oxford, ME)-  The benefits of nature-based education are quantifiable by academic and personal growth metrics. Western Foothills Land Trust recognizes this value and has been working to improve access to sites to be used as forest classrooms near many grade schools in the SAD 17 district. On February 15th, the Norway-based land trust purchased an 83-acre tract of land, to be named the Oxford Forest Preserve, located between Allen Hill Road and the Little Androscoggin River, near Oxford Elementary School. This parcel is one of the former Chadbourne Tree Farm properties acquired in 2020 by White Pine Forest, LLC, a partnership of The Conservation Fund and the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation. This purchase marks the third successful collaboration between Western Foothills Land Trust and The Conservation Fund, emphasizing these organizations’ shared commitment to preserving Maine's natural beauty and biodiversity. 

Situated close to the town center, this land stands as a beacon of outdoor engagement for the community, particularly benefiting the students of Oxford—an area recognized for its limited access to such resources.

“The more we collectively strengthen through education and enjoyment our inherent connection to the lands around us, the more we all benefit,” said Tom Duffus, The Conservation Fund’s vice president and northeast representative based in Freeport. “It’s my hope – and the hope of all who helped complete this project – that this land will be a destination of inspiration for generations to come. Thank you to all who helped make permanent this spectacular new addition to the community.”

The property boasts an impressive 1,056 feet of frontage along the Little Androscoggin River, providing river access for serene nature observations and recreation. This feature enhances the value of the parcel, making it an ideal setting for a variety of activities including hiking, snowshoeing, backcountry touring, mountain biking, fishing, equestrian pursuits, and snowmobiling on the ITS 89 trail, which is maintained by local snowmobile clubs.

In line with Western Foothills Land Trust's mission to conserve native ecosystems, farm and forest lands, watersheds, and scenic landscapes, the property encompasses diverse habitats. These include the Northeastern Coastal and Interior Pine-Oak Forest, Appalachian (Hemlock)-Northern Hardwood Forest, and North-Central Appalachian Acidic Swamp, nestled within a larger 1522-acre block of undeveloped forest. Additionally, the land contains 0.31 acres of wetland and a significant 47.28-acre aquifer, underscoring the ecological value and the conservation potential of this acquisition.

The addition of recreational trails on this property will not only enhance public access to nature but also contribute to the physical and mental well-being of the community. By integrating nature-based education and recreational opportunities, Western Foothills Land Trust aims to foster a deeper connection between the residents of western Maine and their natural surroundings. The Trust has plans to build a parking area, install a trailhead kiosk, and further develop the recreational trails with an official opening planned for later this year.

"We are excited to welcome the Oxford Forest Preserve into our family of conserved lands," said Kacy Bailey, Executive Director of Western Foothills Land Trust. "This acquisition not only protects vital ecosystems and scenic landscapes but also opens up new avenues for community engagement, education, and recreation in western Maine."

Western Foothills Land Trust extends its gratitude to The Conservation Fund who, through its partnership with an anonymous foundation, provided more than half of the purchase price for the parcel. Other project partners include: the Land For Maine’s Future Trust Fund, Maine Community Foundation, the Northern Forest Center, an anonymous donor, and individual donors. 

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Tamaracks on the newly acquired Ann Thurlow Property.

Photo by Lee Dassler

494 Acres Preserved in Oxford, Maine

October 2021


Western Foothills Land Trust and The Conservation Fund announce that on October 15th, the Western Foothills Land Trust purchased the first of three former Chadbourne Tree Farm tracts from White Pine Forest LLC (a subsidiary of The Conservation Fund). The tract is comprised of three wooded parcels totaling 494 acres in Oxford near to the Webber school house neighborhood. 


The Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT) is 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. The Trust was founded in 1987 and protects 8,500 acres of land by ownership or easement in the greater Oxford Hills and manages 32 miles of recreational trails on six preserves including Roberts Farm in Norway. 


The purchase is part of an extraordinary regional conservation partnership that coalesced in 2019 when over 15,000 acres of the Chadbourne Tree Farm forestlands were listed for sale. The size, connectivity, and quality of these iconic working forests drew the interest of The Conservation Fund (TCF) a national non-profit land trust which works to partner resources, expertise, and passion to public agency and local land trust partners to conserve significant landscapes across America. Since 1985, TCF has protected more than eight million acres of land across the U.S., including 466,000 acres of working forests, coastal landscapes, and aquatic habitats that define Maine’s environment, communities, economy, and way of life. 


Working with the U.S. Forest Service, Maine Bureau of Public Lands, Inland Woods + Trails, Mahoosuc Land Trust, and the Western Foothills Land Trust, TCF purchased the 15,408-acre Chadbourne Tree Farm in April of 2020 to provide time to assemble permanent conservation with local partners.  Nearly 11,000 acres are anticipated to be conserved with a working forest conservation easement funded by the US Forest Service Forest Legacy Program. Key tracts will be added to Bethel’s Community Forest and Inland Woods+ Trail’s recreational trail system. Other lands are to be permanently conserved by Mahoosuc Land Trust, and the U.S. Forest Service’s White Mountain National Forest. The Western Foothills Land Trust will be acquiring the Edward Mills Tract in Norway/Harrison and Otisfield, the Staples tract in Oxford in addition to the Oxford tract: 1,298 acres in total.  WFLT anticipates completing the acquisitions via grants and privately donated funds in the next two years.  


Funding for WFLT’s purchase and long-term stewardship of the Oxford tract was provided by the Maine Community Foundation’s Land Protection Grant program, The Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP), and a grant from TCF. MNRCP is a grant program that awards funds collected through the state’s In Lieu Fee Compensation Program, a program that allows entities seeking state and federal permits for impacts to natural resources to make a payment based on the amount and type of impact. Due to the Oxford parcel’s extensive wetlands (185 acres) and other natural resource values (the largest of the three comprising the tract includes 2,814’ of the Webber Brook and 4-miles of frontage on the Little Androscoggin River) the project was provided with generous funding from MNRCP. 


WFLT is currently working to complete the management plan for the tract, including a forest management plan for a portion of the property that could be commercially harvested in the future. Given the extent of wetlands and other natural resources to be protected, the bulk of the land will be managed for the health of the forest and wildlife, not for timber revenue. Logging roads, including a discontinued public road, will transition to non-motorized recreational trails. There are two recognized snowmobile trails through the tracts that are maintained by the Rock-o-Dundee Snowmobile Club that will be continued. ATVs will not be allowed. The logging roads have been used historically by equestrians; a use that will continue to be permitted as long as there is no damage to the resource. The Trust aims to name the preserve, name trails, install signs, a trailhead kiosk, and a small parking area in 2022. 


The permanent protection of the parcel represents significant shoreland protection along the Little Androscoggin River, as well as substantial wetlands protection. It will also provide the Oxford Hills community with additional user-friendly trails for walking, running, bird watching, and nature studies.

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Stone bridge abutment on the newly acquired Ann Thurlow Property.

Photo by Lee Dassler


No Filter Needed: Latest $150M Green Bonds Purchase Protects Pristine Water Parcel

Forbes Magazine, June 24, 2020

Jeff Kart Contributor


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The Chadbourne property also features the 978-acre Tumbledown Dick Mountain, one of the region’s beloved rock-climbing areas.


A brook that flows through the Maine property


There are still some places on Earth where the water is so clean, you can drink it unfiltered. Those places should probably be preserved from development, right? The Conservation Fund thinks so and recently acquired more than 15,000 acres of pine forestland in Western Maine.


Money for the purchase of 15,408 acres of Chadbourne Tree Farms came from proceeds of The Conservation Fund’s first-ever sale of $150 million in “green bonds” issued last year. The price was not disclosed.


The property is managed by the 11th and 12th generations of the Chadbourne family, Bob Chadbourne and Nancy Lea Chadbourne Stearns.


Its history dates back to 1634, according to the fund:


“William Chadbourne was sent to Maine from Devonshire, England, by King Charles I to establish a sawmill. He built a water-powered sawmill in South Berwick that is thought to have been the first sawmill in America.


“William and subsequent generations worked as subsistence farmers and foresters in the area, and later generations moved to Waterford and then Bethel. The 15,408-acre timberland was assembled by the Chadbourne family over more than 150 years.”


The Chadbourne property is considered to be one of the best-managed forests in New England thanks to the family’s focus “on carefully cultivating the growth, composition, health, productivity and quality of the forests,” fund officials say.


Tom Duffus, vice president and northeast representative for The Conservation Fund in Freeport, Maine, says green bonds and projects like this can help save large parts of working forests that would otherwise be sold off piece-by-piece due to economic constraints and other factors. The Chadbourne family will continue to own other forestland in the area.


“America’s privately-owned forests are being broken up, developed and taken out of timber production at an accelerating pace for a number of reasons,” Duffus says.


“Over the past three decades, we have lost 36 million acres of forests. The Conservation Fund is using proceeds from the green bonds to purchase larger acreages like this across the country through our Working Forest Fund to ensure they stay forested and protected from further subdivision and fragmentation.”


The fund will continued to sustainably manage the forestland and seek to have the tree farm certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Forest Management Standard. Parts of the property will be open for public recreation such as hiking, biking, fishing, snowmobiling, paddling, rock climbing, horseback riding and backcountry skiing.


During the next several years, the fund and major partners including Mahoosuc Land Trust, Mahoosuc Pathways, Western Foothills Land Trust and the U.S. Forest Service will work to raise additional money to permanently conserve the land under mostly private ownership. About $7 million in private support is needed, Duffus says.


About that water

About 3,000 of the 15,408 acres in Maine is located in the Sebago Lake watershed, a source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people in the city of Portland and surrounding communities.


“Sebago Lake is one of only 50 public surface water supplies in the country that require no filtration before treatment,” Karen Young, coordinator at Sebago Clean Waters, said in a statement.


“Conserving these forestlands is critical for the protection of the region's lakes that provide pure drinking water and recreational opportunities.”


Sebago Clean Waters and the Portland Water District have set a 35,000-acre conservation goal for the watershed (and this latest purchase makes up about 10% of it). The 15,408 acres in The Conservation Fund project includes forested wetlands that help absorb flooding and portions located above aquifers that are important to maintaining and protecting groundwater supplies for drinking wells.


Duffus says the Chadbourne project is just one of six made possible by the green bonds. The others include forests in Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and Alabama, Virginia and the Pleasant River Headwaters in Maine. Another 72,000 acres in Minnesota is on tap for later this year.

June, 2020 | The Conservation Fund Acquires Iconic Pine Forestland In Western Maine


Nonprofit’s purchase of 15,000 acres will provide time to develop permanent conservation solutions that support the legacy, livelihood and lifestyle of local communities

OXFORD COUNTY, Maine —The Conservation Fund announced today its purchase of 15,408 acres from Chadbourne Tree Farms, LLC in western Maine. The Fund’s acquisition is intended to protect this iconic and historic working forest landscape from fragmentation and development. It also provides time for the implementation of conservation strategies that will advance critical watershed protection for the City of Portland, conserve climate resilient ecological areas, and provide regional economic benefits through enhanced recreational access and continued sustainable forestry operations and timber jobs.  Click to continue reading. ​ The history of this white pine timberland dates back to 1634, when William Chadbourne was sent to Maine from Devonshire, England, by King Charles I to establish a sawmill. He built a water-powered sawmill in South Berwick that is thought to have been the first sawmill in America. William and subsequent generations worked as subsistence farmers and foresters in the area, and later generations moved to Waterford and then Bethel. The 15,408-acre timberland was assembled by the Chadbourne family over more than 150 years. It has been celebrated as one of the best managed forests in New England thanks to the family’s exemplary focus on carefully cultivating the growth, composition, health, productivity and quality of the forests. The Chadbourne family will continue to own other forestland in the area. ​ The property was purchased from Chadbourne Tree Farms, LLC, which is managed by the 11th and 12th generations of the Chadbourne family, Bob Chadbourne and Nancy Lea Chadbourne Stearns. ​ Bob Chadbourne, 11th generation family business owner said: “This forestland and its exceptional white pine timber resources reflect decades of long-term stewardship administered by my father, as well as generations of the Chadbourne family with the help of many skilled and hardworking employees, associates and contractors. For the past several decades, John Gray and Tim Sawyer have been very important players in management of this property. Bethel, Waterford and the surrounding communities have been extremely important communities to the Chadbourne family, and Bob and Nancy Chadbourne and Nancy and David Stearns still live in the area. Other members of the 12th and 13th generations of the Chadbourne family own property and spend time in Waterford. The Chadbourne family is so very pleased to work with The Conservation Fund to ensure that these lands will remain forested and continue to provide timber resources and other benefits.” ​ Over the next several years, The Conservation Fund will manage the Tree Farm, located primarily in Oxford County, providing time for the national nonprofit and its major partners—Mahoosuc Land Trust, Mahoosuc Pathways, Western Foothills Land Trust and the U.S. Forest Service—to raise the funding needed to permanently conserve it under mostly private ownership. Property taxes will continue to be paid during The Conservation Fund’s management. ​ The Fund will sustainably manage the forestland for the improvement and conservation of the forest resources, recreational assets, and climate resilient wildlife habitat—an ecosystem able to absorb a disturbance like drought and flooding without shifting to an alternate state. To ensure that ecologically responsible timber practices are established, The Fund will seek to have the Tree Farm certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Forest Management Standard. Portions of the property will be open for public recreation, including hiking, biking, fishing, snowmobiling, paddling, rock climbing, horseback riding, backcountry skiing, and more. ​ “This exceptional forestland has been innately linked to the character of Western Maine for generations. Right now, when people are looking to be hopeful about our economy and get outdoors, this project could not have come at a better time,” said Tom Duffus, Vice President and Northeast Representative for The Conservation Fund in Freeport, Maine. “The Fund is committed to honoring the exemplary legacy of the Chadbourne family, and, together with our partners, we are working to raise private funding and secure public support to conserve this working forestland in perpetuity.”    ​ The Fund’s purchase secures the fourth largest privately-owned forest in the Sebago Lake watershed, the source of drinking water for more than 200,000 residents in the City of Portland and surrounding communities. With approximately 3,000 acres of the Chadbourne Tree Farm located within the Sebago Lake watershed, this effort, in partnership with the Western Foothills Land Trust, will secure nearly 10% of the 35,000-acre conservation goal established by the Portland Water District and the Sebago Clean Waters coalition for the watershed. “Sebago Lake is one of only 50 public surface water supplies in the country that require no filtration before treatment. Conserving these forestlands is critical for the protection of the region's lakes that provide pure drinking water and recreational opportunities,” said Karen Young, Coordinator at Sebago Clean Waters. “We are thrilled that The Conservation Fund and Western Foothills Land Trust are working together to protect the water quality and the enduring forest-based heritage of the region.” ​ The purchase will also secure 33.5 miles of river and tributary frontage, including 2.5 miles on the Androscoggin River and 13.5 miles on the Crooked River, which flows into Sebago Lake and eventually to the water taps in the Greater Portland region. ​ “The Chadbourne family lands are some of the finest working forestlands in western Maine that many drive through, recreate on and even earn their livings related to the resources they provide,” said Lee Dassler, Executive Director, Western Foothills Land Trust. “Securing these lands and protecting them as working lands forever—especially those in Waterford, Norway and Oxford—will be our greatest challenge to date, and we look forward to working with our conservation partners, state and federal agencies, and local municipalities to achieve this goal.” ​ This noteworthy conservation acquisition was made possible through The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund®, dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests. Proceeds from the Fund’s first-ever green bonds were utilized in this purchase as bridge capital to protect these large, ecologically and economically important forestlands from subdivision and fragmentation, allowing time for permanent conservation solutions to be implemented. ​ The Conservation Fund and its partners are seeking support from private and public sources including the USDA Forest Legacy Program through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program and Portland Water District. The Fund and partners are also seeking private support to complete this significant conservation effort over the next few years. Working forests are a critical component of the economy in western Maine, supporting the livelihoods and outdoor-centric lifestyles of many residents and visitors. Nearly 10,000 acres surround and provide a scenic backdrop to the town of Bethel, a seasonal vacation destination for New Englanders. As the greater Bethel community looks to expand and diversify the local economy, the conservation of this land will not only protect forests close to people, it will also provide opportunities for recreational activities that attract outdoor enthusiasts year-round. ​ “Lands acquired by The Conservation Fund near Bethel will secure the last sites needed for Mahoosuc Pathways to realize our vision of connecting the Bethel Village multi-use trails network between the two ski areas—Sunday River Resort and Mt. Abram Resort—through the downtown, and near the local schools,” said Gabe Perkins, Mahoosuc Pathways Executive Director. “The scale and realization of this trail network will fundamentally benefit the community forever and will bolster a year-round economy.”  ​ The Chadbourne Tree Farm also features the 978-acre Tumbledown Dick Mountain, one of the region’s beloved rock-climbing areas, with scenic vistas for hikers, and prime backcountry glade skiing terrain. The area is also a key corridor for wildlife movement between existing adjacent lands conserved by the USDA Forest Service, the State of Maine and the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The land trust will work with The Conservation Fund to protect this site to secure wildlife habitat in the face of a changing climate and improve recreational access on both the mountain and the extensive Androscoggin River frontage. ​ “Recreational access and habitat connectivity together are a huge benefit to our region, so when we find a large area that can fulfill both needs, we have to seize the opportunity to make that conservation permanent,” said Kirk G. Siegel, Executive Director of the Mahoosuc Land Trust. “As our region's population and tourism grow over time and our forest faces fragmentation, Tumbledown Dick is a place that we will look back on and be so glad we protected for future generations.”  ​ Over the last decade, The Conservation Fund has placed more than 660,000 acres under conservation management through its Working Forest Fund® program, with the goal of purchasing and permanently protecting five million acres of working forests over the next 10 to 15 years. About The Conservation Fund At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land. With a field office in Freeport, The Conservation Fund has helped conserve over 450,000 acres of forests, coastal landscapes, and aquatic habitats that define Maine’s environment, communities, economy, and way of life.  ​ Mahoosuc Land Trust Mahoosuc Land Trust is an accredited land trust founded in 1989 that has conserved 8,500 acres to benefit the communities of the Mahoosuc Region and its globally significant ecosystem.  MLT welcomes visitors at Valentine Farm Conservation Center, 13 preserves, and four Androscoggin River boat landings, and engages 150 to 200 volunteers per year to care for them. Mahoosuc Pathways Mahoosuc Pathways is dedicated to creating economic growth and prosperity by connecting communities through the development, maintenance, and promotion of a multi-use recreational trail network for human-powered activities for all ages and abilities. Our work connects communities, local economies, supports healthy lifestyles, natural resources, and fosters respect for landowners. ​ Western Foothills Land Trust Western Foothills Land Trust protects farmlands, wetlands, forestlands, unique natural resources and open space in the greater Oxford Hills area of Western Maine. The Trust holds conservation easements on privately owned lands and owns working forest lands and preserves in the region. The Trust also manages recreational trails on its preserves and collaborates within its community to create healthy opportunities. ​ Sebago Clean Waters Sebago Clean Waters is a partnership of nine conservation organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. ​ Contacts: Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 |  ​



November, 2015  |  Campaign to Protect Noyes Mountain, Greenwood

Most often the land trust works with landowners to protect the working lands they have loved and managed to assure that the natural assets of the land will be available for future generations. Less frequently the Trust works to purchase land that has been identified as significant for its natural resources, location, or cultural significance.


Noyes Mountain is an example of both. The Trust is working with the owners to create a long term vision for land they love, beneficial for the land, the sellers, and the community. The 286-acre parcel the Trust intends to purchase for $300,000 includes road access, a 600’ elevation gain, a section of old county road and miles of well-maintained twitch trails, 12 acres of prime farmland soils, a northern hardwood forest, state-identified rare plant species, and provides access to the pegmatitic outcroppings of the Harvard Quarry (tourmaline!) The Noyes Mountain parcel provides excellent wildlife habitat as it lies in an undeveloped block of 2,691 acres. It also includes over 2,000 feet of stream habitat and, given its size and altitude, is an important forested filter for the Norway Lake watershed.


Noyes Mountain will provide non-motorized access to the rare views from the summit and quarry. The iconic view of Noyes Mountain from the southern shore of Norway Lake will remain as it has been since settlement, a working rural landscape.

The Trust will manage Noyes Mountain similar to other Preserves we steward. It would maintain existing trails on site, and potentially add additional trails for hiking, skiing, and mountain biking if consistent with our overall resource conservation goals. It would continue to allow hunting on site, keep the parcel in tree growth tax basis and manage the forest responsibly.

December, 2014  |  Endowment Campaign Successful

The Western Foothills Land Trust was selected in May of 2012 to be a recipient of the Ram Island 25/25 challenge grant administered by the Maine Community Foundation. Under that grant program, the Trust needed to raise $25,000 for its endowment in 18 months time to receive a matching $25,000. With 72 hours remaining, the Trust met its challenge Wednesday, May 28. Having completed the match, the Trust will establish an endowment fund with Norway Savings Bank which has been a strong supporter of the work of the land trust within our community. In 2013, the bank offered a $5,000 challenge match for the endowment campaign, which helped to stimulate local contributions. Restricted to accessing the fund’s interest, the Trust will continue to augment the endowment fund’s principal as opportunities arise.

November, 2014  |  Moon Valley Wetlands Enhancement

In 2013, the Western Foothills Land Trust was awarded funding by the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program to purchase a 14- acre retired sand pit known as Moon Valley with frontage on the Crooked River. Additional funds were provided by the Clean Water Carbon Fund and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.


Last spring, New England Organics supplied organic mill plume from the Jay mill, and RJ Grondin and Sons completed the earth work with the objective of creating a base that would retain water to support wetlands plant species already on site and to be added. Now there are three perennial pools and an expanded wetlands base.


This summer, volunteers spread a variety of specialty wetlands grass seed and straw mulch across the site and undertook the planting of 1800 bare root trees selected for their adaptation to wetland environments and high survivability in stress situations. Homeschoolers and their parents helped along with an OHCHS biology class with assistance from land trust volunteers. Ethel Wilkerson from Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and the Clean Water Carbon Fund, which had provided funding for the tree stock as part of its mission to protect a forested watersheds in Maine, provided essential tree-planting knowledge. As trees were being planted, volunteers were serenaded by a Parula warbler, bullfrogs, and entertained by a mallard family that has adopted the new pond. A scarlet tangier was spotted recently along the site’s edge habitat. Searle Excavation placed boulders to protect the entrance of the conservation site and to allow recreational access to the extisting trails along the Crooked River. While the young trees root and grasses stabilize, and before a walking trail is defined, the site will be closed to visitors.

May 9, 2013  |  Oxford Hills to celebrate Bike to Work Day 

OXFORD HILLS — This is the first year the event is being held in Oxford Hills, which joins a growing number of communities across the country that are encouraging cycling as way to stay healthy, ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution and have fun...

Apr 25, 2013  |  Norway receives grant to fix culverts

NORWAY —  Town Manager David Holt told selectmen at their April 18 meeting that the town has received grant funds to help fix road drainage and improve the overall water quality of the Crooked River...

Mar 28, 2013  |  Trust buys Moon Valley

HARRISON — The Moon Valley parcel, located south of 117 in Harrison, includes 390 feet of Crooked River frontage. In addition to purchasing the parcel, the funded project includes creation of 2.7 acres of freshwater wetlands, enhancing 1.4 acres of emergent wetlands and upland buffer, with a buffer of 4.9 preserved acres...


Mar 14, 2013  |  Otisfield will fix roads with grant funds 

OTISFIELD — A majority of the erosion sites Dassler identified in the Crooked River survey were town roads. The Crooked River watershed, according to Dassler, is the most endangered and highest-quality drinking water reservoir in the northeast...


Mar 07, 2013  |  Waterford passes anti-tar sands resolution/oil industry, Canadian government urges citizens to get more info 

WATERFORD —  A comfortable majority of voters approved the adoption of a non-binding municipal resolution opposing the transport of tar sands oil through a stretch of the Portland-Montreal pipeline that runs through Waterford during the annual town meeting March 3.

Jan 3, 2013  |  Ben Tucker receives Sen. King staff appointment

NORWAY — An active member of the community, Tucker has been a vice president of the Western Foothills Land Trust, a Norway Historical Society Director, a vice president of the Weary Club of Norway and a member of the Western Maine Arts Group...


Jan 10, 2013  |  Public interest forum slated 

NORWAY — With some 1.8 million acres under protection, Maine ranks second in the nation. The Western Foothills group itself manages some 5,500 acres in 10 towns. Through easements, donations or purchase, land trusts hold or control land in collaboration with property owners, past or present...


Nov 08, 2012  |  After school ski program shapes up 

OXFORD HILLS — Working together for the benefit of area elementary school children, a nonprofit, a local business, a family and numerous volunteers are partnering with SAD17 to provide a six-week after school Nordic ski program for schools in the district...


Oct 25, 2012  |  Tar sands bad for environment, committee says 

OTISFIELD — Members of the Otisfield Conservation Committee are concerned about possible transportation of tar sands through an aging pipeline from Montreal to Portland. They reported their concerns to selectmen during their October 17 meeting. Lee Dassler, coordinator of the Western Foothills Land Trust, said the 62-year-old pipeline currently transports conventional crude oil 236 miles from Portland to Montreal...


Oct 18, 2012 Land Trust receives award 

BUCKFIELD — Western Foothills Land Trust has been awarded technical planning assistance for The Virgil Parris Forest, Buckfield from the National Park Service’s Recreational Trails Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program. The Virgil Parris Forest is a 1250-acre conservation area encompassing South Pond in Buckfield...


May 31, 2012 WFLT protects 257 acres in Buckfield 

NORWAY — The Western Foothills Land Trust (WFLT) is planning big things in Buckfield. The trust has recently become the steward of 257 acres of protected land donated by Wes and Marilyn Ackley...


April 12, 2012 Maine's land trusts becoming big players 

HARRISON — This 690-acre parcel owned by Mary and John Watkins of Harrison is the largest easement that the Western Foothills Land Trust has ever received. It protects 1.2 miles of shoreline along Crooked River, and 32.6 acres of high value wetlands...


March 29, 2012 Crooked River Watershed Survey Complete, results now online 

NORWAY — A volunteer watershed survey at Crooked River last summer found that the watershed is the most endangered and highest-quality drinking water reservoir in the Northeast, said Western Foothills Land Trust Coordinator Lee Dassler, during the March 15 meeting of the Norway Board of Selectmen...

March 1, 2012 Conservation Tax Incentive championed 

BRIDGTON — Landowners can retire the development rights on their land by donating a conservation easement to a land trust – keeping farm, and forest lands in productive use, protecting important water resources and wildlife habitat, and conserving scenic and historic heritage. Selectmen...



Spring 2013  |  WFLT Newsletter Ben Tucker Resigns from the WFLT Board

Ben Tucker, Norway’s talented photographer and chronicler, and WFLT's dedicated Vice President, resigned from the Board this January after being honored by Senator Angus King, Jr. to serve as the Senator's regional representative working out of the Auburn office. In this case the land trust's loss is Maine's gain.


In his eloquent letter to the board Ben wrote, “I have been proud beyond measure to have participated in the work of the Trust, the acquisition of Roberts Farm, most especially. I have been proud to have been part of such a wonderful group of individuals."



The Trust and our community lost two dedicated friends of conservation during the final month of 2012.

Patricia Howe Page of Poland, ME and Lincoln, MA who donated a conservation easement protecting 568 acres of forested land including 130 acres of hydric soil and 7,283 feet of shoreline on Marshall Pond in Oxford, died on December 10, 2012. Patty was 88 years old. Born in Rutland Vermont, Patty graduated from the Boston School of Occupational Therapy after WWII. She worked at numerous hospitals in Massachusetts and then served as director of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Patty met her physician/anthropologist husband, Lot B. Page on a blind date at Walden Pond. Patty was a member of the Society of Women Geographers and The Harvard Travellers' Club. She co-founded the Bead Designer International and loved crafts, books and was known for her love of bats, beads, mushrooms, bee keeping, and adventure travel. In the sum-mer she loved spending time at her family's secluded wilderness cabin on Marshall Pond. Patty and her niece Sandy page donated conservation easements on adjacent parcels on Marshall Pond in 2006. The 568-acre Page Family Conservation forest is owned by the New England Forestry Foundation and protected by an easement held by WFLT.


Benjamin Franklin Hull, III of Norway, Maine, formerly of Rockport, died on Dec 31, 2012 in Auburn, Maine. Ben was 71 years old. Ben was born on March 26, 1941, in Gloucester, to the late Dorothy Ross Hull and Benjamin F. Hull, Jr.. After graduating from Rock-port High School in 1959, Ben studied mathematics at Boston College, graduating in 1963. He built a log cabin in Norway in 1973 and after 3 decades spent as a computer programmer in the Boston area, became a full time Maine resident in 1990. Ben loved nature, was from his youth an avid and knowledgeable birder, music and poetry lover. He was also an accomplished photographer, composed music, and played piano by ear. He wrote poetry all his life. In 2010 he published a book of poems entitled "Boston to Maine." All proceeds from its sale went to the Western Foothills Land Trust, to help acquire and preserve land in Maine.

January 28, 2018  |  Healthy learning at Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway By Liz Marquis, Staff Writer

NORWAY – The sounds Sunday were all too familiar: Skis scraping against icy trails while some skiers uttered “oof” as they fell to the snow.

And it all was accompanied by laughter and words of encouragement at Robert’s Farm Preserve in Norway, where young skiers were honing their skills during the Bill Koch League event, organized by the Western Foothills Land Trust.



May, 2019 | The Western Foothills Land Trust announces “The Clothesline Project”

NORWAY – WFLT announces The Clothesline Project, a series of outdoor art exhibitions and poetry readings, to be hung at Shepard’s Farm Preserve in Norway, Maine. The Preserve is located at 121 Crockett Ridge Road and is part of a larger 272-acre conservation area that wraps around Witt Swamp. The Clothesline Project is funded in part through a grant from the Onion Foundation to honor the history of the Penley Clothespin Company formerly of West Paris. Through this project, the Trust hopes to reinforce our community’s memory of a once huge local industry (wooden clothespins) while inspiring resource conservation and art in our everyday lives. 


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