Friday, September 12, 2008

Conservation Easement Protects 400 Acres of Gerrish Island

Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), a statewide land conservation organization, today announced the protection of an ecologically significant property on Gerrish Island in Kittery. MCHT was granted a conservation easement on the 400‑acre coastal property, which has been owned by the Delano family for more than 60 years.
The coastline of the protected property extends for approximately three‑quarters of a mile and includes rocky headlands and cobble beaches. Directly behind one of the cobble beaches is a large freshwater marsh providing habitat for migratory birds, including black ducks, green winged teal, and great blue herons.
The conserved land, while not open for public use, offers an exceptional scenic resource for the area.
“Our mother and father shared a deep appreciation for this special place,” said Sara Delano. “My brothers and I were pleased to work with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and its partners to honor our parents’ wish that this property always remain in an unspoiled state.”
“This is one of the largest properties with coastal shore frontage in southern Maine,” said Chris Fichtel, MCHT Project Manager. “With the constant pressure of development in York County, it is gratifying to be able to preserve such an important natural habitat.”
Maine Coast Heritage Trust purchased the conservation easement from the Delano family at a substantial discount from appraised value and received financial assistance from the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative.
Helen Winebaum, campaign chair for the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative, expressed her appreciation to the Delanos, saying, “This is an extraordinarily generous gift from the Delano family.”
Gerrish Island forms the southern tip of the State of Maine, bounded on the East and South by the Atlantic Ocean, on the West by Portsmouth Harbor and the Piscataqua River, on the North by Chauncey Creek, and on the Northeast by Cutts Island and the Seapoint Beach conservation area.
Caption: Gerrish Island at Sunset. (Courtesy photo)