NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen on Monday applauded plans by Chandler Brothers to conserve 117 acres surrounding Lily Pond as a wildlife management area.

“This is a great project,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Steve Libby said. “I’ve used it since I was very young and camped there as a Boy Scout.”

Selectman Nat Berry said he first became aware of the pond in 1972, when he was a very young game warden. It was named Chandler Mill Pond then.

“I want to thank the Chandlers personally for going forward. I’m 110 percent in favor of this project,” he said.

“The pond belongs to the state and we felt it was the right thing to do,” Steve Chandler said. “Our primary intent is to keep our land out of development. We liked to see it put into some form of protection, which the Royal River Conservation Trust will provide with the conservation easement in place.”

Royal River Conservation Trust, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Chandler Brothers are working to create the easement around the 24-acre pond. The land is bounded by the Maine Turnpike, Snow Hill Road and Chandler Mill Road.

Chandler Brothers requested the town change the name back to Chandler Mill Pond and the board unanimously agreed.

The Chandlers were early settlers of New Gloucester. The family used the pond from the late 1800s until the 1930s for a lumber and sawmill operation.

Chandler Brothers is a family-owned land-holding company with roughly 2,700 acres.

“We are the third generation that started with four brothers and now includes three cousins and a spouse,” Steve Chandler’s cousin, Charles Chandler of Dixmont said. Timber harvesting and gravel mining help pay the bills, he said.

In 1993, Chandler Brothers was named Tree Farmer of the Year.

Francis Brautigan said by phone Monday that his agency plans to conserve the entire shoreline with a buffer around the entire pond to protect it.

The pond is stocked with rainbow trout that thrive and provide exceptional recreation to anglers, he said. Motorized boats are not allowed on the pond.

“We don’t agree to hold conservation land unless it has good ecology and recreation,” Brautigan said.

Royal River Conservation Trust President Eugenie Francine said, “With the expected support of the town of New Gloucester, we all aim to pass the Chandler Mill Project to the next generation of anglers, paddlers, skaters, birders and others for their enjoyment. We are all indebted to the foresight and generosity of the Chandler family.”

The trust will hold the conservation easement.

Chandler Brothers will donate roughly two-thirds of the value of the parcel, while the rest of the land’s value will be paid for by the MDIFW with federal funds. Closing is expected in early or mid-2014.


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