Date April 14, 2016
Contact person: Rachelle Curran Apse, Executive Director, 400-7154
The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust just closed on a new 32 acre parcel along Mill Brook in Westbrook which means the land trust now owns three parcels totaling 102 acres stretching out several miles along the forested and secluded river valley.
The new parcel of land features 2000 feet of river frontage along Mill Brook off Bridgton Road in Westbrook. Ralph Hatt generously donated the land to the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust so it would forever remain open space with public access trails. “After walking my land for 45 years, I am so happy to share with the public the effort I have put into the land to make trails so everyone can enjoy the beauty of the land that is part of the greater Portland metropolitan area,” said Ralph Hatt.
Mike Parker, Board President of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, said, “When I first met Ralph Hatt two years ago he handed me a card that read, ‘I have 30 acres with 2000 feet of frontage along Mill Brook that I want to conserve.’ What it didn’t say was that he had been manicuring the land and building a trail network on it for 30 years. The parcel that he donated today is park-like in character, a gem in the daisy chain of parcels that now constitutes our Mill Brook Preserve.”
The Mill Brook Preserve stretches through the urban city of Westbrook yet remains a largely undeveloped valley. This area is a priority for the land trust to conserve as open space because the brook supports the largest and most productive alewife run in Casco Bay. Alewife migrate from the ocean up the Presumpscot River through Mill Brook to Highland Lake where they reproduce and then head back out to the ocean each fall. This concentration of migrating fish attracts a wide variety of wildlife to the valley, including bald eagles, gulls, herons, and osprey.
While the land was donated, the transaction was made possible by a grant from the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.
This May the alewife will migrate up Mill Brook by the thousands, and the land trust will be hosting a World Fish Migration Day Hike on this new parcel of our Mill Brook Preserve to observe them. This event is open to the public and will be held on May 21st. Please go to www.prlt.org for more details about the event.
The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s new Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, Toby Jacobs, will be coordinating the effort to build a three mile trail this summer on Mill Brook Preserve for the public to access and enjoy the serene beauty of Mill Brook. Building the trail will involve dozens of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND: The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is a non-profit that conserves and protects outstanding lands in Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Westbrook, and Windham to preserve the character of the Presumpscot River watershed for the benefit of people and wildlife. The land trust has conserved over 1,100 acres of land and has 7 public access Preserves with trails that are free and open to the public, including the 28-mile long Sebago to the Sea Trail. Learn more at www.prlt.org.