POLAND — The Poland Conservation Commission presented the Select Board on Tuesday night with proposals for conservation easements for Waterhouse Park and land near Lower Range Pond.

Regarding long-range goals in the Waterhouse Park Comprehensive Plan, commission member Don Stover and naturalist and trail steward Alan Audet presented specifics for the approximate 90 acres jointly owned by the town and the Pine Grove Cemetery Corp.

The area runs behind Poland Community School and is split by Waterhouse Brook. It has almost 2 miles of developed walking trails, encompassing the old Maine Central Railroad bed.

The commission detailed past and current uses of the land, including hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, ATV riding, walking and nature observation. A section of the town property was used as the sand pit and stump dump.

The commission believes “that the highest value for this property is as a nature reserve” and “future plans should place greatest emphasis on preservation and improvement of habitat and usage of the area for noninvasive activities with an emphasis on passive recreation and observation of nature.”

The commission report to the board stated that “Waterhouse Park is of such high value to the town as a nature reserve that it should be protected by conservation easement as has been done for the town’s other two conservation areas.”

Audet provided a multi-page listing of bird and animal species, plants, fish and insects that “have been directly observed or captured on remote cameras” within the park.

The commission’s second proposal dealt with designating 16 acres between Route 26 and Lower Range Pond as a conservation easement. It abuts Aggregate Road and the Regional School Unit 16 Central Office and the main staging area for school buses.

The entire parcel is within the shoreland zone and uses are defined in the town’s Comprehensive Land Use Code. A good piece of it also falls under the state’s resource protection district.

There is limited access to the land and the terrain rises steeply from Lower Range Pond to an elevation of 60 feet.

The commission’s report said, “this small but unique parcel should be protected from all development which conflicts with the primary purpose of wildlife protection and low impact foot traffic.”

In other business, the board approved a grant of $2,500 from the Maine State Library to the A.B. Ricker Memorial Library.

The board also learned that CannaRX received a license for an adult use marijuana retail store in the recently held lottery. It’s the third adult use retail license in Poland.

In another matter, Deputy Town Manager Nikki Pratt said tax bills will be sent in the next few weeks.

Pratt noted if a homeowner sold their home after April 1 this year, the tax bill should be forwarded to the new owner to prevent a lien. Anyone who purchased a home after April 1 should notify the town as well to prevent any complications.


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