History

The Roots of Freeport Conservation Trust

Founded in 1977, Freeport Conservation Trust (FCT) has worked to protect 45 properties, totaling nearly 1,500 acres, including scenic farmland, vital shorefront, and vast woodlands. Our mission is simple: to preserve, connect and share the natural beauty of Freeport, Maine, connecting open space and providing access to natural areas—for everyone.

Talbot Farm

Talbot Farm

In 1980, the Internal Revenue Service granted FCT 501(c)(3) status. The beautiful 78-acre Talbot Farm, located on South Freeport Road, was the Trust’s first protected property in 1979. Our most recent is the 13-acre Frost Gully Woods property in central Freeport, which Aqua Maine donated to FCT in December 2009.

We work with private landowners who are interested in protecting their land. We hold and enforce permanent restrictions on property through conservation easements or outright ownership. And we provide public access to natural spaces all over Freeport by building and maintaining trails. Our partnerships with local residents raise funds for the purchase and ongoing stewardship of land and help us encourage land protection among our friends and neighbors.

Surveying the scene at a bridge over Kelsey Brook

Surveying the scene at a bridge over Kelsey Brook

Of the 1,500 acres we’ve protected, we hold 444 acres in fee, and 1,048 acres in easements. You can access 944 acres of those properties along almost 20 miles of public trails. We, with tireless volunteers, have recently built or improved several trails, including the mile-long Kelsey Brook Trail at Mitchell Ledge Farm, opened in 2009, and the Cousins River Trail that was developed and opened in 2008 in conjunction with the Casco Bay YMCA.

Some properties on which FCT holds conservation easements are not accessible to the public. Yet we can all enjoy views of their undeveloped woods, fields and shorelines from roadways and the water.

Until June 2007, FCT was an all-volunteer organization. Since then we have opened a one-room office at the Freeport Community Center and employ a part-time Executive Coordinator. Those changes have allowed us to invite more public use of properties we protect and to expand outreach to the community. A generous grant from L.L. Bean, matched by our Business Partners and contributions from hundreds of regular members, supports FCT’s increased presence. Together, we’re conserving the places you love.

We’re really proud of our deep roots in Freeport! Here are some conservation highlights:

1977: Six Freeport residents incorporate Freeport Conservation Trust as a nonprofit land trust for the benefit of the people of Freeport.

1979: Talbot Farm (60 acres) and Sawtelle Farm (116 acres) protected.

1983: Wolf Neck trail ROW/Little River Oxbow (4 acres) and Means Massacre Field (32 acres) protected.

1984: Section of Wolf Neck Road through the state park and adjacent Lot J reaching to the Harraseeket River protected.

Mill Stream Landing

Mill Stream Landing

1985: FCT takes ownership of Mill Stream Landing and acreage on the Cousins River.

1986: Williams Island (southern half) protected.

1987: Calderwood Tree Farm (50 acres) protected.

1988: Land adjacent to Allen’s Pond (7 acres) protected.

1989: Griffin Farm and Woods (60 acres) and the Pease lot protected.

Tidebrook

Tidebrook

1994: Tidebrook (44 acres), Sister Island (4.5 acres) and Mt. Washington view (2 acres) protected.

1996: Powell Point (29 acres) acquired.

1999: Bliss Woods (85.5 acres) protected.

2001: Sayles Field and Woods (70 acres) acquired; Stonewood Trail and Highview (12 acres) protected.

2002: Brewer Woods (19 acres) acquired and Arnold Family Forest (67 acres) protected.

2003: Webster Crossing (64 acres) acquired; Hidden Pond (46 acres) and Pettengill Island (9 acres) protected.

Antoinette-Jackman Trail

Antoinette-Jackman Trail

2005: River’s Edge (45.5 acres) acquired and Antoinette Jackman Woods (161 acres) protected.

2006: Quarry Woods and Wetlands (35 acres) and Soule Park (1.7 acres) protected. Acquired additional Highview property from South Freeport Church.

2007:Mitchell Ledge Farm and adjacent Kelsey Brook subdivision (132 acres of field and woods), Slavin Woods (31 acres), Miskell property (22 acres) and Trub Orchard (5 acres) protected. Cousins River Trail built at River’s Edge in partnership with the Casco Bay YMCA.

Frost Gully Brook

Frost Gully Brook

2008: West Cove (53 acres) and Little French Island acquired and Brimstone Hill Trail opened.

2009: Frost Gully Woods (13 acres) protected and the Kelsey Brook Trail at Mitchell Ledge Farm was constructed.

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You can visit many of these wonderful properties. Enjoy the opportunity to Explore Freeport Outdoors.

 

 

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