BLUE HILL — Blue Hill Heritage Trust has announced that its collaborative project, with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and The Conservation Fund, to acquire 336 acres on Wallamatogus Mountain in the town of Penobscot, has received a preliminary award of $400,000 from Land for Maine’s Future. The total project cost is $1.2 million: $800,000 for purchase and $400,000 for long-term care of the property and transaction costs. This is a major step forward in the effort to protect this property, which has long been a conservation priority for the Blue Hill Peninsula community.
“This project is the biggest fundraising effort we have ever undertaken for a single property,” said Hans Carlson, executive director of Blue Hill Heritage Trust, “and we had to take a leap of faith a year ago when we started. Knowing LMF was there as a possible funder made it possible for us to see a path to success, and to take that leap. We are very grateful for the LMF funds for this project, and I also want to express gratitude for something larger too.
“The people of Maine support this program, and so the work LMF does not only funds, but also energizes conservation across the state. This is making Maine a better place to live.”
“We are delighted to help conserve Togus Mountain,” said Tom Duffus, vice president and northeast representative for The Conservation Fund. “This is critically important to the community here, and exactly the kind of conservation intended by the Land for Maine’s Future program. I applaud the LMF program for participating in such a significant way.”
The Conservation Fund, a national land trust, currently owns and is holding the property for up to three years while Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust collaborate to raise the funds required to purchase the land and protect it in perpetuity.
“This was such great news! Raising the funds for the purchase and management of this land on Wallamatogous Mountain is a big challenge for us all. This award from the Land for Maine’s Future program gives a very exciting and significant boost to the efforts,” said Ciona Ulbrich, senior project manager at Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
This land on Wallamatogus Mountain — or Mount Togus — has views of Penobscot Bay, nearby coastal islands and the whole Bagaduce River watershed. The project parcel has trails through open wild blueberry fields. The fields provide habitat for upland sandpipers and vesper sparrows, two species in decline in Maine. There are also large areas of forest and wetlands around the field with a diverse range of habitat.
The 336 acres are near other Blue Hill Heritage Trust conservation land, and together, they constitute a major block of undeveloped, unfragmented open space on Maine’s coast.