Whitecap push launches Wednesday

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RUMFORD – The final push to raise the remaining funds to buy 761 acres atop Whitecap Mountain begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Hotel Harris.

Jolan Ippolito, campaign manager for the project, said all but $160,000 has been raised through state and federal agencies and other sources. Now, the final countdown has begun.

The total $714,000 must be in-hand by March 30, she said.

The parcel was once a part of 600,000 acres owned by MeadWestvaco Corp. When the land was sold off a couple of years ago, Bay Root LLC, a timber investment company, bought it.

Now, Mahoosuc Land Trust and the Whitecap Mountain Project want to buy the land so the public can continue to use it for hiking, blueberrying and skiing.

“Our goal is to have every penny in hand,” Ippolito said.

In a news release issued by Mahoosuc Land Trust, MLT president Steve Wight said Whitecap is listed as one of the four best back-country skiing destinations in Maine, according to a book put out by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

The $714,000 price tag includes the land, surveys, legal fees, the capital campaign and about $58,000 to maintain the parcel.

Wednesday’s kickoff is for anyone who has played any role in trying to acquire the land, as well as anyone who wants to help out.

“This is our official launching of the final effort,” Ippolito said.

She said the organization has already acquired easements so that people can gain access to the rocky, 2,214-foot summit. Those who venture to the top can get a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.

Wednesday’s event will be a chance to update people interested in Whitecap Mountain and learn how they can help.

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