BRIDGTON — “Thanks to Norway Savings Bank’s support, we are better able to conserve and steward over 9,000 acres of natural areas and resources in the Sebago Lake Region for the benefit of our communities now as well as the generations of tomorrow.”

The words of Matt Markot, Executive Director of the Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT), succinctly describe the crucial work of LELT and explain why Norway Savings has been so willing to support it with a $5,000 contribution in May and over $50,000 in donations over the last decade.

Loon Echo Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that protects and conserves the natural resources and character of land in Bridgton, where it is based, as well as Casco, Denmark, Naples, Harrison, Sebago and Raymond. LELT preserves public access to iconic spaces like Pleasant Mountain and Raymond Community Forest and supports the region’s water resources, wildlife habitats, and working farms and forests.

“LELT was formed in 1987 by community members who saw the need to preserve the forests, fields, and waters of the region,” said Markot. “Throughout the years, LELT has worked with area residents, businesses, and organizations to protect land through conservation easements, land purchases, and land donations.”

The organization’s biggest annual fundraiser is the Loon Echo Trek for the Trails, of which NSB is the title sponsor. Participation in the Trek is free and individuals can run, bike, or walk on area trails between September 1 and October 31 then log their miles online. Thanks to the support of local businesses, LELT gets $1 from a match pool for every mile logged. In addition, every Trekker is entered into a raffle for great prizes from local businesses.

“We’re proud that this is our eighth year as a title sponsor of the Trek and thrilled that the event and the positive impact that follows continues to grow,” said Dan Walsh, President and CEO of Norway Savings. “NSB is happy to support the efforts and important work of LELT to make close to 40 miles of trails and the natural beauty of Maine accessible to more people.”

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Current LELT projects include restoring a wetland habitat and designing a multi-use trail plan in Casco, the construction of a pedestrian trail and an off-street parking area for a 360-acre property on Sebago Cove in Naples, and the upgrade of a field loop at Mayberry Hill in Casco to become suitable for use by wheeled mobility devices.

“With demand for access to the outdoors as high as it has ever been, the donations of NSB and other supporters help LELT propel forward,” said Markot. “NSB’s commitment to our work is remarkable and really serves as a great example of how these types of partnerships between businesses and non-profit organizations truly strengthen our communities.”

“Carrying out a mission of preservation, protection, and maintenance commands respect, and providing assistance in support of that cause is something that inspires our team members,” said Walsh. “Hopefully, LELT’s meaningful work will motivate individuals and businesses in these communities and beyond to learn how they can get involved as well.”

There are many ways to extend a helping hand to LELT. To make a donation, visit www.lelt.org/ways-to-give. To learn about volunteering your time to maintain a trail or even offer office support, visit www.lelt.org/volunteering. To discover other opportunities to assist or to learn more about the ongoing projects or LELT’s history, visit www.lelt.org.

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