Land Trust expands protection of Hurds Pond
A recent property purchase has added 160 acres to Coastal Mountains Land Trust’s growing Meadow Brook Preserve in Swanville. Totaling 371 acres, the preserve now nearly circles the undeveloped Hurds Pond, Meadow Brook and their adjacent wetland system.
The newly added parcel — the third tract of the Meadow Brook Preserve — is an ecological complement to the Land Trust’s preserve and its Hurds Pond Focus Area. Bordering a state wildlife management area, the property contains state-designated High Value Inland Wading Bird and Wildlife Habitat. The addition expands protection of the pristine wetland system, deer wintering areas, and inland wading bird habitat. In 2005 Coastal Mountains Land Trust's Board of Directors designated the Hurds Pond Focus Area as one of the Land Trust’s highest priorities for its land conservation efforts.
Scott Dickerson, the Land Trust’s Acquisitions Coordinator, facilitated the addition to the preserve with Ethan Bessey of E.D. Bessey and Sons Lumber, a locally-owned and family-run timber company. Although they were currently harvesting the parcel, the Besseys agreed to reduce the harvest area in order to better protect the property’s mature forest stands and provide a more robust buffer to Meadow Brook and its wetlands. The timber company allows unrestricted public access to their woodlands, and they were founding members of Project Landshare, a Maine program that encourages private landowners to allow public access and recognizes them for doing so.
The purchase was facilitated with generous support from an anonymous donor and the Maine Community Foundation’s Pollinator’s Fund.
Planning for the entire Hurd’s Pond Focus Area is supported by funding from the Maine Community Foundation’s Fund for Maine Land Conservation, and by advisory help from Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Together with its partners, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Land Trust is planning public access opportunities on the pristine and undeveloped pond, including non-motorized boat access, hiking trails, and cross-country skiing opportunities.