On Saturday, April 5, 2014, North Berwick voters voted to support conservation of key farmlands in their town. The Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen recommended that the town assist Great Works Regional Land Trust in conserving Parker and Hilton Farms in North Berwick. Open Space funds of $20,000 will be the last money in to complete the purchase of easements for these farms. They both contain prime farmland soils, which the owners would like to protect from future development (read about other funding awards below):
Parker Farm, 100 acres on Maple St. owned by Charles and Marjorie Parker
Hilton Farm, 26 acres on Maple St. owned by Ella Hilton
Dave Parker photo: Parker Farm Field
Click map to view larger image.
"Discovering a vision for Berwick's future revealed strong town pride in our beautiful open spaces. We could not be more grateful that Great Works Regional Land Trust has for years been diligently working to conserve the land, including key pieces along the Salmon Falls River. We look forward to supporting and partnering with Great Works to ensure our community will enjoy Berwick’s natural resources and rural character far into the future."
Jessica Sheldon, member, Berwick Downtown Visioning Committee
The Salmon Falls River, a source of drainage for both properties, is the largest river system contributing to the Great Bay estuary that borders both Maine and New Hampshire. The River was identified by the U.S. Forest Service in its report Private Lands, Public Benefits (2009) as being the most threatened in the nation with regard to the potential decline in water quality due to conversion of private forested lands to housing. The river is a source of drinking water for 28,000 people. Just downstream from the Tuckahoe project site, Berwick draws water directly from the river, while Somersworth, NH has both draws water directly and has wells adjacent to the river.
Great Works Regional Land Trust has the opportunity to purchase two parcels of land, one just to the north, and one just to south of our 108-acre Tuckahoe Preserve, located in Berwick between Hubbard Road and the Salmon Falls River.
Great Works has a purchase and sale agreement for the 29-acre parcel to the south, with frontage on Keay Brook. As of April 2014, funding has been received from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program and the Berwick selectmen have put on the ballot a $10,000 warrant item, to be voted on at the May 2014 town meeting.
The purchase of this 29-acre property will help Great Works provide public access to trails along the river, ideal for hiking, birding and family recreation.
On July 13, 2013, the Richard E. Payeur Conservation Area (Berwick Road, Ogunquit) was officially dedicated: 35 acres named in honor of the donor of the land. A lovely loop trail of approximately 1 mile winds alongside wetland meadows and vernal pools, through forest. The double stone wall along part of the path sends one's imagination back to the time when this was pastureland. The trail is accessed from the Ogunquit Dog Park, next to the Transfer Station off Berwick Road. There is parking for two cars.
Steve Einstein photo.
Generous donation of family land next to South Berwick Town Forest
From the Summer 2013 newsletter:
With soft pine needles under foot and the sound of birds overhead, amble along a woods road to reach the Gerard Desrochers Memorial Forest in South Berwick. Made possible through the generosity of the Gallo family, this 135-acre property is Great Works’ newest conservation parcel.
South Berwick resident Patti Gallo recently donated this large, desirable tract of land to Great Works Regional Land Trust in honor of her father, Gerard Desrochers. “The donated land is named after my father who had great fondness for animals and nature,” said Gallo. “And, my daughter and I have wonderful memories of walking this land with him.”
Located next to the 88-acre South Berwick Town Forest, the parcel features frontage along the Great Works River, a tributary of the Salmon Falls River. Except for several acres of mature pines and hemlock near the river, the property consists predominantly of young, hardwood forest interspersed with wetlands. The property is accessed on the Town Forest Road at Knight’s Pond Road, and begins about 400 feet beyond the Town Forest sign and parking area.
Click on map for more encompassing view.
Conserving Rustlewood Farm: Farmland & Heritage in Kittery and Eliot
A 300-acre dairy farm straddling the Kittery/Eliot town line is the latest in Great Works' farmland protection projects, assisting Kittery Land Trust.
Rustlewood Farm Photos by Peter E. Randall
Great Works Regional Land Trust is well on its way to purchasing 28 acres next to the 117 acres it owns in Beaver Dam Heath in Berwick. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant of $75,000 to Great Works towards the purchase of the property.
In addition, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership has notified Great Works Regional Land Trust that $10,000 has been awarded to the Grants Meadow III project. The Trust must match this grant with non federal dollars and is actively fundraising.
Voters in Berwick will decide May 10, 2011 whether or not to appropriate $10,000 to the project, which will make the reality of public access trails in Berwick that much closer.
When Bill and Carol Bryan donated 113 acres of property in the Beaver Dam Heath to Great Works, they requested that we name it Grants Meadow. This is the description on the earliest survey known, 1855. Bill related how the land had been managed for hay into recent times, but when a wildfire burned long and deep in 1941, the peat that had built up over the centuries was lost, the land subsided and was flooded by Beaver Dam Creek.
Bill and Carol recognized the natural resources of the Heath and the wonders hidden in its deepest interior. Their vision for protecting the heath included a desire to make the public aware of this amazing habitat by establishing hiking trails and wildlife viewing areas. The public investment was confirmed when Berwick voters approved the donation of an adjacent lot that had been held for back taxes. This small parcel has been designated as Grants Meadow II. See the Winter 2008 issue of the newsletter on our website for more about the Bryan donation and the Heath.
Now, GWRLT has a new project in Beaver Dam Heath, thanks again to Bill and Carol. Grants Meadow III consists of 28 acres of upland, vernal pools and wetlands, offered to the Trust at a bargain sale. With frontage on Diamond Hill Road, a parking lot and trail head is envisioned for public access. Fundraising is under way to purchase the property.
|New Perkinstown Commons Preserve in Wells
|Thank you to all who contributed toward Great Works' $50,000+ fundraising effort!
GWRLT's purchase of a conservation easement on Deb-Tone Farm was joyfully completed on March 23rd. A small celebration at the North Berwick Town Hall after the closing gave way to a room full of supporters enjoying Ken Goodwin's storytelling and sharing the success of the project.
The Great Works River Watershed, 23 miles in length, drains large areas of South Berwick and North Berwick as it heads to the Salmon Falls River, then the Piscataqua River on its way to Great Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partners has granted funding to Great Works Regional Land Trust, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and Great Works River Watershed Coalition for the purpose of implementing five high priority tasks: