HANCOCK COUNTY — On September 22, 2021, The Conservation Fund announced its acquisition of the 336-acre Wallamatogus Mountain property in the town of Penobscot at the request of Blue Hill Heritage Trust. This coastal mountain property, which resides in the original homeland of the Wabanaki people, has long been a conservation priority for the Blue Hill Peninsula community.
“Today’s acquisition marks a critical step towards the protection of a key community resource,” said Tom Duffus, vice president and northeast representative for The Conservation Fund, in a news release. “Mt. Wallamatogus provides invaluable cultural, environmental, recreational and economic benefits to the Blue Hill Peninsula and the residents of the Town of Penobscot. We are committed to seeing this property protected forever.”
The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that make environmental and economic sense, will hold the property for up to three years while Blue Hill Heritage Trust (BHHT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) collaborate to raise the funds required to purchase the land and protect it in perpetuity.
“When the property went on the market earlier this year, I received dozens of emails, phone calls, and letters asking for us to help conserve this place for the community,” said Hans Carlson, executive director of BHHT. “It’s a daunting task—in dollars, it’s the biggest single fundraising effort we’ve undertaken in our 36-year history—but we were inspired and encouraged by the groundswell of public sentiment. With project partners like The Conservation Fund and MCHT we will succeed.”
“This property has long been a priority to keep undeveloped and available for people to visit. By taking this key step, The Conservation Fund is giving our organizations the long-awaited opportunity to try to raise the funds to make that possible,” notes Ciona Ulbrich, Senior Project Manager at MCHT.
This land on Wallamatogus Mountain — or Mt. Togus — has spectacular views of Penobscot Bay, nearby coastal islands, and the whole Bagaduce River watershed, according to the release.
“The project parcel has trails through spectacular open wild blueberry fields where the view grows more stunning as you climb,” said the release.
The fields provide important habitat for upland sandpipers and vesper sparrows, two species in decline in Maine. There are also large areas of forest and wetlands around the field with a diverse range of habitat.
The 336 acres are near other BHHT conservation land, and together, they constitute a major block of undeveloped, unfragmented open space on Maine’s coast located minutes from Maine Maritime Academy and the historic Castine Village — one of the last British strongholds during the Revolution.
This effort is a top priority for the Blue Hill Peninsula community and is part of a larger initiative by BHHT and MCHT to conserve land in the Bagaduce watershed, according to the release. The local partners will fundraise jointly for BHHT’s ultimate purchase and protection of the property and for its stewardship over time.
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 8.5 million acres of land, including roughly 466,000 acres in Maine. www.conservationfund.org
About Blue Hill Heritage Trust
BHHT is a nationally accredited nonprofit land conservation organization founded in 1985 by residents of the Blue Hill Peninsula. We work to conserve the unique landscape of our peninsula and have protected nearly 12,000 acres. This land will be forever protected for its recreational, ecological, and historical importance, and used to bring our communities together on the land. bluehillheritagetrust.org
About Maine Coast Heritage Trust
MCHT is a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from preserving coastal access for communities to high impact ecological work focused on reconnecting waterways and improving coastal resiliency to climate change. A leader in Maine’s nationally renowned land conservation efforts since 1970, MCHT maintains a growing network of almost 150 coastal and island preserves free and open to everyone and leads the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network to ensure that land conservation provides benefits to all Maine communities. Get involved at www.mcht.org.