Metcalf-Ferguson Farm donated for conservation

Dec 17, 2017
Courtesy of: Jacob Gerritsen View of Metcalf-Ferguson farm in Northport, now preserved.

Northport — The family of Elizabeth Metcalf has 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, according to a news release from Coastal Mountains Land Trust.

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,” said Bob Metcalf, who has lived on the property all his life and worked with his sister, Sherrie Pierce, to fulfill the vision of their late mother, Elizabeth Metcalf, and grandmother, Julia Ferguson, of conserving the family property.

“I just want it protected, I don’t want it subdivided," Metcalf said. "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, according to the news release.

Ian Stewart, executive director of the land trust, said, "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. We are grateful for the Metcalf family’s generosity in working with the land trust to permanently conserve this wonderful place.”

Adam Bishop, Farmland Protection Program director for Maine Farmland Trust, said, “The Metcalf property has great potential as a farm given its over 30 acres of high quality soils and proximity to markets. 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 Metcalfs 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, the news release said.

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.

Coastal Mountains Land Trust, based in Camden, has worked since 1986 to permanently conserve land to benefit the natural and human communities of the western Penobscot Bay. The land trust has protected over 10,000 acres to date, offering 45 miles of trails for public access. For more information, visit coastalmountains.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide nonprofit organization working to protect farmland, support farmers and advance farming. Since its founding in 1999, the trust has helped to protect over 54,000 acres of Maine’s farmland and provided over 550 farm families with critical services. More information can be found at mainefarmlandtrust.org.

 

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