News Feature

Penobscot
Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 16, 2022 and The Weekly Packet, June 16, 2022
Land for Maine’s Future awards $400K to conservation effort
Will protect Wallamatogus Mountain property

The view from Wallamatogus Mountain

The view from Wallamatogus Mountain in Penobscot.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hill Heritage Trust

Blue Hill Heritage Trust 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, according to a press release.

“This project is the biggest fundraising effort we have ever undertaken for a single property,” said Hans Carlson, executive director of BHHT, “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 MCHT.

This land on Wallamatogus Mountain—or Mt. Togus—has spectacular views of Penobscot Bay, nearby coastal islands and the whole Bagaduce River watershed. The project parcel has trails through spectacular open wild blueberry fields where the view grows more stunning as climbers ascend. The fields provide important 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 BHHT conservation land, and together, they constitute a major block of undeveloped, unfragmented open space on Maine’s coast located minutes from Maine Maritime Academy and the historic Castine village—one of the last British strongholds during the Revolution.

This effort is a top priority for the Blue Hill Peninsula community and is part of a larger initiative by BHHT and MCHT to conserve land in the Bagaduce watershed. The local partners will fundraise jointly for BHHT’s ultimate purchase and protection of the property and for its stewardship over time.