future accessibility to the public for hiking and hunting

Midcoast Conservancy protects key parcel in Newcastle

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 4:45pm

Last week, Midcoast Conservancy purchased a high priority 57-acre addition to its Reverend Joseph Barth Memorial Demonstration and Experimental Forest from Nick and Sandra Barth. Reverend Joseph Barth, with Nick, founded the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association (SVCA) in 1966. SVCA subsequently became a founding member of Midcoast Conservancy.

Says Nick Barth, in a Midcoast Conservancy news release: “Conservation work is what I’ve done most of my life, even before SVCA was formed. This is an extension of my life’s work protecting and preserving forestland. My father purchased this land in the 1960’s and I’m glad to see the pieces coming together for this land to be an ecologically managed forest, well into the future.”

“This was really what made sense to do with this property,” added Sandra Barth, “furthering our commitment that began with the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association.”

The property in Newcastle adds to protected land, also part of the legacy of Reverend Joseph Barth, donated by Roland Barth in 2020. It expands critical conserved lands along the Sheepscot River, and is close to Midcoast Conservancy’s Bass Falls Preserve in Alna and Newcastle.

“This project is part of Midcoast Conservancy’s focus on high-priority connected protected lands,” said Pete Nichols, Midcoast Conservancy executive director. “We aim to greatly increase the pace of conservation over the next ten critical years, and the Reverend Barth Memorial Forest is a key part of that.”

The property protects 100 feet along the Sheepscot River, protecting water quality in a river that federally endangered Atlantic Salmon call home. It contains mixed hardwood forest which stores carbon and provides critical flood control and wildlife habitat. 

“We are eager to continue Nick’s work in maintaining this forest for long-term ecological and silvicultural study, as well as conserving in perpetuity a forested buffer along this quiet and wild stretch of the Sheepscot. Christian Schorn, Midcoast Conservancy senior stewardship manager. “In addition, the preserve will be accessible to the public for hiking and hunting.”

The expansion of the Reverend Barth Memorial Forest was made possible by generous funding from: Maine Coast Heritage Trust, William P. Wharton Trust, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Fields Pond Foundation, John Sage Foundation, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust and private donors – including Nick and Sandra Barth.

Midcoast Conservancy is a vibrant regional land trust that works to protect vital lands and waters on a scale that matters and to inspire wonder and action on behalf of all species and the Earth. The organization works throughout the Sheepscot River, Medomak River, and Damariscotta Lake watersheds. Midcoast Conservancy manages over 13,000 acres in 55 preserves and 95 miles of trails, including Hidden Valley, a preserve with cabin and outdoor recreation equipment rentals and a low-impact forestry program. Community members can get involved in the organization’s work as volunteers with water quality monitoring, habitat restoration, fish passage projects, forestry and oyster farming or outdoor recreation and education. For more information, go to www.midcoastconservancy.org or call (207) 389-5150.