Friday, June 12, 2014
The City of Westbrook today conveyed to Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT) a 50-acre parcel of open space along Mill Brook adjacent to Cobb Farm Subdivision off Methodist Road. Mill Brook provides an important connection for alewives and other migrating fish species from the Presumpscot River to Highland Lake.
Signing took place in the Mayor’s Office in City Hall following more than a year of negotiations. In conjunction with the transaction, the City made a donation of $5,000 to help with stewardship costs on the property. As a further expression of its interest in Mill Brook, the City recently collaborated with Falmouth to fund the purchase of a large parcel along the brook nearer the lake, according to Molly Just, Westbrook Planner. The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) also contributed funds for Cobb transaction costs because its stewardship advances CBEP’s recently developed Presumpscot regional conservation priorities.
“The land trust shares Westbrook’s keen interest in Mill Brook because of its ecological value in the Presumpscot River Watershed,” said PRLT Board President Michael Parker of Windham. “Since the removal of Smelt Hill Dam in Falmouth, alewives and other migrating fish have returned to the watershed, and Mill Brook has become an exciting place for gulls and other onlookers to see them swim upstream from the Presumpscot River to Highland Lake. PRLT is fully committed to the stewardship of this vitally important resource and is grateful both to the City of Westbrook and developer Wayne Nelsen for the opportunity.”
The city received the parcel originally in 2004 from Cobb Farm Subdivision developer Wayne Nelsen, who wanted to ensure public access for the entire community. PRLT intends to promote low impact recreation such as hiking, fishing and snowmobiling on the property. Access to the parcel will be via a marked parking space on Perry Court off Methodist Road and a footpath will be extended to connect with trails existing along the brook.
PRLT is in the midst of its annual membership drive and will be looking for Cobb Farm stewards from its new Westbrook members. Avenues for membership and other information can be found on the PRLT web page at www.prlt.org.