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Photo by Sara Gray, Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Beech Hill

Guidelines for Use of LMF Properties

Walking/Hiking Wildlife Observation/Study Cross-country skiing/Snow-shoeing Dog-Walking Hunting/Trapping Farms 

Project Description

A short walk up Beech Hill rewards one with panoramic views of the midcoast, stretching from the Georges River Valley out to Monhegan Island and east to Mount Desert Island. Generations of local residents have frequented Beech Hill–enjoying family hikes and picnics, blueberry-picking and quiet reflection in an inspiring setting. This cherished community landmark is now permanently protected, thanks to the generosity of the former landowners, community donors and the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) Program.

As with many LMF projects, the conservation of Beech Hill occurred in stages. The first easements--limiting future construction on the land--were placed on the property more than 15 years ago. The former landowners then added further protective covenants to preserve the property’s scenic and ecological values, and helped to stabilize a Norwegian-style stone cottage at the summit (known as “Beechnut”) which was built in 1915.

Wanting to see the land conserved and accessible to the public, the former landowners offered to sell 295 acres surrounding the summit to Maine Coast Heritage Trust for a price well below the appraised value. MCHT later transferred the property to Coastal Mountains Land Trust retaining a conservation easement on the land that prevents future subdivision and allows public access and sustainable agriculture.

Coastal Mountains Land Trust has opened new trails for walking and cross-country skiing that enable visitors to enjoy the property without intruding on the organic blueberry production planned for the site. The blueberry operation will keep the fields open, helping to maintain the views and provide essential grassland habitat for killdeer, bobolinks and certain sparrow species that are in decline nationwide.