Photo by Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
Skolfield Shores PreserveGuidelines for Use of LMF Properties
At the town line between Brunswick and Harpswell on Route 123, a panoramic view opens out on both sides of the roadway, with historic farm structures flanked by wide fields leading down to tidal marshes and open water. These lands lie in the narrow isthmus at the top of Harpswell Neck, situated on a historic Native American portage site. What was, for many local residents, a cherished and seemingly timeless landscape, came perilously close to becoming “Skolfield Farm Shores,” a subdivision with eight upscale houses. Fortunately, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) and community members rallied to conserve the threatened landscape and emerged with a larger plan that will ultimately protect 182 acres of farm, forest and shorefront in the vicinity.
The 19-acre Skolfield Shores Preserve is part of the historic and formerly extensive Skolfield (or Merrucoonegan) Farm, which has supported farming and shipbuilding activities since the 1700s. After more than seven generations, adjoining parts of the original farm still remain in Skolfield family ownership.
With funding support from the Land for Maine’s Future Program, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Program, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Casco Bay Estuary Program, HHLT purchased the parcel that had been slated for subdivision. The Skolfield Shores Preserve now protects nearly one-half of mile of shore frontage (along ecologically rich salt marsh and mudflats), a stand of majestic old hemlocks, a mixed-growth forest and a small hayfield.
Negotiations are underway to acquire conservation easements on the abutting properties. Those easements will enhance the value of the Preserve’s historic viewshed, commercially important mudflats and rich wildlife habitat (which supports 40 threatened species of shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl).
Please note: HHLT is developing a trail system (to open later in 2004) that will allow opportunities for public access. Until those trails are in place, though, no access is permitted. The only hunting that will be allowed on the property is for seabirds.