NORWAY — The Western Foothills Land Trust has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to obtain the top 240 acres of Noyes Mountain in Greenwood.

The land, which has been the subject of images by artists and photographers for centuries as the backdrop for Lake Pennesseewassee, is also coveted for its wildlife habitat, rare plants, mineral and cultural significance.

The trust has one year to raise the $220,000 to complete the purchase, Lee Dassler of the Land Trust said. The project had to be developed quickly after the Land Trust learned of the sale to ensure its protection. Generally, projects take years of negotiations and process to complete, Dassler said.

“I think this is so important for the town … every artist, visitor, resident is moved by that view,” Dassler told the Sun Journal. “(It) could be easily compromised by development of the wooded approach to that mountain.”

If the purchase is successful, the Land Trust intends to protect the scenic view;  protect the Pennesseewassee Lake watershed, the wildlife habitat, recreational trails and working forestland, while providing pedestrian access to the viewpoint and a cultural site near the Harvard mine.

While Dassler said the Harvard mine will not be part of the purchase, the Land Trust hopes it will remain open for mining.

According to information from Dassler, Isaac Noyes became interested in the site’s pegmatitic outcroppings in the late 1880s. In 1892, the ledge was opened for the first time and became a mecca for scientists and collectors alike, offering one of the most complex mineralized pegmatites in Maine.

Dassler said mineral operations on the mountain were opened by a distant cousin of Noyes, George Lorenzo “Shavey” Noyes, and Tim Heath around 1894. Tourmaline was first recorded from the locale about 1904, and over the years the green color found at the location became known as “Harvard Green.”

The granite pegmatites Noyes collected were largely preserved and passed into the possession of the Harvard Museum, together with the lease of the property in 1917.

In the summer of 1923 active quarrying was undertaken by the Harvard Mineralogical Department under the supervision of Harvard University student Kenneth K. Landes, who wrote his dissertation on the granite pegmatites, Dassler said.

Currently, Frank Perham owns the one-acre Harvard quarry, which remains open to the public.

The Land Trust intends to pay taxes on the parcel, continuing to keep the property in tree growth. The organization will plan to sustainably manage the forest. Hunting will also be allowed, Dassler said.

Dassler said the Land Trust has one month to raise a $5,000 nonreturnable deposit, seven months to raise an additional $5,000 nonrefundable deposit and one year to raise the balance of $199,000.

The campaign goal is set at $220,000 to cover needed due diligence and stewardship costs. All contributions and pledges are fully tax deductible and are welcomed.

Additional information on the Noyes Mountain project is available at www.wfltmaine.org/noyes

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