MONTVILLE — Friends of Haystack Mountain report that the grassroots effort to protect the mountain “has made great progress since the campaign began in June.” In a recent press release, FOHM said it has raised nearly $150,000 — one third of the sale price —  through individual donations, business support and grants.

A group of eight residents from Montville and Liberty, upon learning of an impending sale, quickly coalesced and raised the money in a matter of weeks for a purchase and sale agreement. Their goal is to protect the property from development and ensure that it remains accessible for everyone.

The 57-acre property offers panoramic vistas from the summit and has been a beloved destination for generations of people in the region.

Midcoast Conservancy, serving as fiscal agent for the group, is also providing publicity support. After the property is acquired and a loan paid off, FOHM intends to donate the property to the land trust, which has the capacity to care for the land, annually monitor its fields and woods and ensure public access.

A hiking trail up Haystack begins 200 yards from Walker Elementary School in the town of Liberty. The mountain’s location and exceptional views from the top have made the short hike a regular experience for generations of students and teachers since the school opened in 1937.

Having raised one third of the sale price ensures that a loan from Bangor Savings Bank will be possible and allow FOHM to close on the property in January. The group still needs to raise $300,000 to ensure that the property will be conserved and not go back on the market.

Support and funds raised to date came from individuals, groups, businesses and foundations that include the Palermo Snowmobile Club, Citizens Association of Liberty Lakes, Evergreen Home Performance, Lake St. George Brewery, Liberty Graphics, Liberty Organics, Revision Energy, Frapolis Place, Hidden Valley Camp, John’s Ice Cream, Jones & Co. Building and Design, Lori’s Café, Pieceworks, Revision Energy, Rooted Elements, and Timberstone Rustic Arts, according to the press release.

Foundation support has come from the Herrington-Fitch Family Foundation ($10,000), Maine Community Foundation ($22,700) and Davis Conservation Foundation ($10,000). Individual donations have ranged from less than one dollar to a $10,000 challenge match.

FOHM continues to host events to raise awareness about the project. Currently, the group is collaborating with the Liberty Library to provide a seasonal “StoryWalk.” The library recently received a $2,500 grant from the Maine Public Library Fund to support its “StoryWalk” program. A new story will be posted along Haystack Mountain’s 1-mile easy loop trail each season for four years. Story pages can be followed to the summit, where panoramic views greet hikers. The trail is located at the far end of the ball field behind the Donald Walker Health Center, 43 W. Main St., Liberty.

FOHM must continue to raise funds in earnest to pay off the loan and acquire the mountain. FOHM continues to seek individual, business and corporate tax-deductible donations, apply for grants, and hold public events in support of the campaign.

For more information about donating to the project and to learn about upcoming events, visit haystackmountainmaine.org/ or email FOHM at friendsofhaystackmountain@gmail.com.