165-acre Metcalf-Ferguson farm in Northport conserved

Posted:  Monday, December 18, 2017 - 5:30am

CAMDEN — This week the family of Elizabeth Metcalf donated a conservation easement that permanently conserves the 165-acre family farm on Knight Pond Road in Northport. Conservation of the property protects a regionally significant wetland fen known as the 'Knight Pond Bog' along with over 4,000 feet of waterfront frontage on the thoroughfare connecting Knight and Pitcher Ponds. With the completion of this project, the entire shoreline of Knight Pond, a headwater pond of the Ducktrap River, is now either permanently protected through the combined efforts of the State of Maine, Ducktrap Wildlife Preserve, and Coastal Mountains Land Trust or under the public ownership of the Town of Northport.

"My grandmother wanted this property conserved and I was all for it too," shared Bob Metcalf, who has lived on the property his entire life and worked with his sister, Sherrie Pierce, to fulfill their late mother's, Elizabeth Metcalf, and grandmother's, Julia Ferguson, vision of conserving the family property. "I just want it protected, I don't want it subdivided. Fifty or one hundred years from now, I'd want to see it as it is today. That would be my ideal."

It was the unique combination of farmland and ecological value of the land that brought Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Maine Farmland Trust together to craft a multi-purpose conservation easement to protect the opportunity for sustainable agricultural and forestry as well as the wildlife habitats, ecology, scenic views from public vantage points, and water quality in Knight Pond and the Ducktrap River watershed. "This property is unique in that it includes terrific agricultural resources, as well as important ecological features such as over 75 acres of wetlands, the northern most population of Atlantic white cedar, and rare animal species identified by Maine's Beginning with Habitat Program," said Ian Stewart, Executive Director of the Land Trust. "We are grateful for the Metcalf Family's generosity in working with the Land Trust to permanently conserve this wonderful place."

"The Metcalf property has great potential as a farm given its over 30 acres of high quality soils and proximity to markets," explained Adam Bishop, Farmland Protection Program Director of Maine Farmland Trust. "When the Metcalf Family approached Maine Farmland Trust about conserving their farm, we contacted Coastal Mountains Land Trust given its history of conservation in the Ducktrap River watershed and its network of conserved lands immediately surrounding and adjacent to this land." In addition to introducing the Metcalf's to the Land Trust and offering consultation on the project as it developed, Maine Farmland Trust provided significant financial support for the acquisition of the conservation easement through its Farmland Protection Grant Program.

Since 1994, when it helped convene the Ducktrap Coalition, Coastal Mountains Land Trust has permanently conserved 2,132 acres within the Ducktrap River watershed and along the river itself, one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers on the east coast of the United States where one can find spawning Atlantic salmon.