BRIDGTON — After a major fundraising effort, Loon Echo Land Trust has purchased and protected 252 acres of forestland surrounding Bridgton Historical Society’s Narramissic Farm in South Bridgton.

The forest was originally part of the historic Peabody-Fitch Farm (now called Narramissic), which was established in 1797, just three years after Bridgton was incorporated. Margaret Monroe purchased the property in 1938. She left the farm buildings and fields to the Bridgton Historical Society when she died in 1986.

Monroe’s daughter, Margaret “Peg” Normann, spent many of her summers at Narramissic and owned the 252 forested acres surrounding the farmstead. Normann died on June 11. “Loon Echo’s permanent conservation of this land is a fitting tribute to her love for the farm that she knew for so much of her life,” said the Bridgton Historical Society in a statement.

Under LELT’s ownership and management, Peabody-Fitch Woods will never be developed, but the property will remain on the municipal tax roll. LELT’s acquisition of this land also secures public access for recreational opportunities, including hunting, walking and nature observation. LELT will enhance the existing pedestrian trails located on the property and has engaged local clubs to ensure that a snowmobile and ATV corridor on the property remains accessible.

LELT has plans to build a new universal access trail that will take visitors on a walk through time. When completed, the trail will provide glimpses into the farm’s agricultural past and vistas of westerly mountains. Informational signs along the universal access trail will provide insight into the Peabody and Fitch families’ pioneering efforts.

Peabody-Fitch Woods will also support a variety of cultural, educational and recreational activity. LELT and the Bridgton Historical Society are planning new collaborative events that will take advantage of access to the farm and the woods.

The conservation of Peabody-Fitch Woods also increases forest connectivity, provides wildlife habitat and aids in the protection of the Sebago Lake Watershed. Because 75% of the forest is located in the Sebago Lake Watershed, Portland Water District made a significant contribution to the project. “Forests filter water naturally, so these woods will help keep Sebago Lake – and all the ponds and streams between the property and Sebago Lake – clean forever. This is why our company is so supportive of Loon Echo’s work,” said Portland Water District Environmental Manager Paul Hunt.

More information about Peabody-Fitch Woods can be found at www.lelt.org/pfw.


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