A hiker strolls along Preble Cove on Great Cranberry Island. MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST PHOTO

Agreement protects island cove access

CRANBERRY ISLES — For years, local residents of Great Cranberry Isle have accessed the beach at Preble Cove via a small trail. But they may not have been aware that public access to the beach via this traditional trail wasn’t guaranteed. Until now.

Thanks to a generous donation by Holly Hartley and conservation agreements between Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Cranberry Isles Realty Trust and the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society, the Preble Cove trail is now guaranteed for public access. As part of the agreement, Cranberry Isles Realty Trust received a $50,000 contribution from Maine Coast Heritage Trust — money that will help the trust in its efforts to provide affordable housing to Cranberry Isles community residents.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has worked on similar projects on Mount Desert Island with the Island Housing Trust, seeking to conserve land while making resources available for affordable housing. MCHT’s land project manager, Bob DeForrest, worked with all of the partners to make the project happen.

“We are grateful to former landowner Holly Hartley, the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society and to the Cranberry Isles Realty Trust for their partnership to make this project a reality,” DeForrest said. “This is a great example of land conservation which results in lasting benefits to the whole community.”

The project got its start in December 2016 when Holly Hartley donated a 1.7-acre parcel on Preble Cove to MCHT as a public preserve. MCHT realized that the trail that the public traditionally used to access this spectacular parcel was not guaranteed, and then contacted the neighboring landowners (Cranberry Isles Realty Trust and Great Cranberry Island Historical Society) to find a solution.

The parties crafted conservation agreements that would allow access to continue along the trail and Cranberry Isles Realty Trust would receive $50,000 in support of its mission.

“Affordable housing and access to the shore are two critical needs in this community,” Phil Whitney, Cranberry Isles Realty Trust’s president, said. “This project shows that a lot of good can come when community groups come together to tackle an issue.”

Cranberry Isles Realty Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing for those wishing to live on Great Cranberry or Islesford year-round. Founded in 1996, it has been working to strengthen the island community and economy by helping to provide housing for year-round families on the islands.

For information, contact Phil Whitney at 244-5933.

For information about the Preble Cove trail, call the Maine Coast Heritage Trust at 244-5100.

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