One proposal would buy 326 acres along the Androscoggin River, within sight of eagle habitat, from a landowner with development plans. Another would give a Lisbon man capital to try farming full-time and keep his property development-free for good.
Both plans got money this week from Land for Maine’s Future. The program spent all $10 million approved in a bond vote last November.
Six local projects snagged $3.1 million in all.
The parcel along the Androscoggin, called Turner Cove, is among the “focus areas” drawn up by the Androscoggin Land Trust, President Jonathan LaBonte said Friday.
It has lots of shorefront, eagle nests nearby and abuts the large Androscoggin Riverlands state park – land the ALT was formed to protect back in 1991.
Turner Cove would become part of the riverlands park, which offers ATV access, biking, equestrian trails and a boat launch.
LMF gave $230,000, plus an additional $100,000 water access grant, toward the $600,000 price tag. Supporters have until the end of the year to raise the rest of the money.
“The landowner has different development proposals for the property,” said Wolfe Tone, project manager with the Trust for Public Land.
Another $169,500 was allocated toward a conservation easement on 176 acres of land at Hallelujah Farm in Lisbon.
LaBonte said owner Ripley Swan would like to grow veggie crops and have an equine facility, projects that take start-up funds.
“A lot of the working lands along the river that have the best soil for farming also have the most pressure for development,” LaBonte said.
Androscoggin Land Trust currently protects 2,700 acres in a mix of conservation easements and outright ownership. Five miles of that is shoreland along the river.
Given the competition this week – 31 projects statewide vying for twice as much money as LMF had – LaBonte said he hadn’t been sure of either project’s chances.
Proposals in Rangeley, Lovell and Rumford also got funding. Most of the $3.1 given to the six area projects – $2 million – went toward protecting 3,688 acres in Grafton Notch. The total cost of that project, and how much remained to be raised, was unclear Friday afternoon.