OTISFIELD — The Western Foothills Land Trust and the Loon Echo Land Trust are working together to develop a community forest project on the Crooked River that will include 590 acres of woodlands in Otisfield and Harrison.

Lee Dassler of the Western Foothills Land Trust told Otisfield selectmen last week that the trust will be asking Otisfield voters to provide $5,000 and Harrison voters to allocate $10,000 toward the $1.1 million purchase of the two sites.

The Twin Bridges site, 290 acres on the Crooked River, is being sold for $617,000. The Harrison parcel of 300 acres, called Intervale, has nearly 7,000 feet of frontage along the Crooked River. It is selling for $515,000.

The Crooked River has been identified as a conservation priority by environmentalists and others.

The land trusts are also raising funds to buy other adjacent parcels, including the Oak Hill parcel for $190,000, the Watkins parcel for $85,000 and the Woodsum Brook parcel for $120,700.

The total land deal costs $1,628,400 and will be paid through grants, private fundraising and other means. About a third of the money will come through the Portland Water District and Land for Maine’s Future grant.


“This is the largest project the Land Trust has ever been involved in,” Dassler said.

The Twin Bridges and Intervale parcels have been appraised at full value while the smaller parcels have been offered at a “bargain” rate, she said.

Both properties are owned by CLT Company, a local family who has managed woodlots for nearly a century, according to information from Dassler. The land will continue to be in a working forest status if the land trusts purchase it. Future timber harvesting will support the management and maintenance of the property.

Dassler said it had taken nearly four years to negotiate the purchase of the property, and both land trusts are now under a sales and purchase agreement for the Twin Bridge and Intervale parcels.

The land will be designated for hunting, fishing, trapping, horseback riding, walking and snowmobiling.

Dassler said the groups have until Dec. 31 to raise the money.

A citizens’ petition will be placed on the annual town meeting warrant, asking for the funds in each town.

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