Three Boys and a Brook

The Hatt Parcel Story – Mill Brook Preserve, Westbrook

Three Boys and a Brook is a new video produced for Presumpscot Regional Land Trust by Galen Koch in which three members of the Land Trust reflect on their association in the 1940s and 1950s with what is now a portion of the Mill Brook Preserve. In this pictorial introduction to the thirty acres Ralph Hatt donated in 2016, Ralph expresses why he worked through the trust to assure enduring public enjoyment on his land.


Family Learn to Snowshoe with WinterKids

family-snowshoeing-2016-smaller-imageSaturday February 11th at 10am
Hawkes Preserve, Gorham

Join us for a family-friendly Snowshoe Nature Walk at our Hawkes Preserve. This program will be a fun introduction to snowshoeing with games and forest exploration. Snowshoes will be provided for all who attend. Snowshoeing recommended for kids three years old and older. The program will be led by Marion Doyle of WinterKids. The event is free, but space is limited, RSVP is required, click here to RSVP.

Full Moon Snowshoe

full-moon-snowshoeSaturday, January 14, 2017
Randall Orchards, Standish

Join us for a nearly full moon snowshoe at Randall Orchards – the farm we helped protect as farmland forever.  We will meet at the farm at sunset and head out to explore the 500-acres of conserved orchard and forest while watching the moon rise. The snowshoe will be about one mile and the program will last two hours. After the walk, we will be serving hot cider from apples grown and pressed on-site at the orchard. This event is now full. If you missed signing up this year, please join us next year for this annual event.

Three-Mile Trail System at Mill Brook Preserve Now Open to the Public

December 12, 2016
Contact person: Rachelle Curran Apse,, 400-7154

Over 45 people braved frigid temperatures2016-mill-brook-ribbon-cutting
2016-mill-brook-trail-grand-opening-smallon Saturday, December 10, to attend a Presumpscot Regional Land Trust ribbon cutting to officially open a trail system in Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook. The three-mile trail system is now open to the public for walking, hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing. There are three trailheads, the primary trailhead is next to 789 Methodist Road at the top of the new private road, Allen Knight Road. Click here for the trailmap.

The story of Mill Brook Preserve, which is owned by the Presumpscot Regional
Land Trust, started more than two years ago when the City of Westbrook donated the first parcel of land along Mill Brook to the land trust. With the donation of other parcels since the preserve has now grown to 120 acres.

2016-mill-brook-grand-opening-mike-and-group-smallMill Brook is about five miles long, beginning in Highland Lake and ending in the Presumpscot River. Most of those five miles the brook winds through pristine forests all within the City of Westbrook.

“The new trail system will for the first time open the Mill Brook valley for the public to enjoy,” said Rachelle Curran Apse, PRLT Executive Director. “While the trail system will be open year round, the late spring will be the high season, with the opportunity for the public to watch thousands of migratory fish swimming upstream from the ocean to Highland Lake to spawn. It truly is a spectacular sight.”

City of Westbrook Mayor Mike Sanphy spoke at the ribbon cutting. “The Mill Brook Preserve and trail system is a highly successful collaborative initiative of the City of Westbrook, private landowners and the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust to protect and establish public access to this beautiful and incredibly valuable natural feature in our community,” he said.

“The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has become an invaluable partner with the City of Westbrook in preserving and enhancing public access to natural open spaces throughout our city,” added Former Mayor Colleen Hilton at the event.

Toby Jacobs, the Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator for the land trust, stated, “The great news is that this Mill Brook trail opening is only phase one. Thanks to the most recent City of Westbrook donation and another private donation expected this spring, we plan to expand the trail another mile to the north next summer to reach what will be the junction of Methodist Road and Route 302. Volunteers have been incredible in pitching in to build this trail over the last few months, and they will again be vital in helping to extend the trail next summer.”

Creating this preserve and three-mile trail system was only possible with the support of Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s LL Bean Land Trust Grant Program, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, Westbrook Environmental Improvement Corporation, Maine Community Foundation’s Deering Fund, City of Westbrook Recreation & Conservation Commission, and land trust members.

BACKGROUND: Presumpscot Regional Land Trust  is a non-profit organization that supports healthy lands, waters, wildlife, and people across the Presumpscot River watershed through conservation, water quality monitoring, education, and public access – holding conservation lands in the towns of Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Westbrook and Windham.The land trust has conserved over 1,400 acres of land and has 10 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

Trail Grand Opening

mill-brook-grand-openingTRAIL GRAND OPENING
Saturday December 10, 2016
Mill Brook Preserve, Westbrook

Join us for the official grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Mill Brook Preserve three-mile trail system. The event will begin at 1pm with a ribbon cutting led by Colleen Hilton, outgoing Mayor of Westbrook, Mike Sanphy, incoming Mayor of Westbrook and Mike Parker, land trust board member. Following the ribbon cutting, Toby Jacobs, will lead a 1.5 hour guided walk along the newest and most rugged section of trail in the most remote area of the preserve. As the trail creator, Toby will share stories of building the trail plus history and wildlife unique to Mill Brook. We hope you can come celebrate and join us for the first official walk on the new trail system that over 70 volunteers helped to build. Trail maps will be available at the event.

Explore Black Brook Preserve

new-bridge-101308-copySunday November 13 at 10 a.m.

Join us for a fall walk on our 100 acre Black Brook Preserve. This preserve is now a part of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust after its unification with the Windham Land Trust, The walk will be both a celebration of the new joint trust and a great chance to experience the land that inspired the forming of the Windham Land Trust.  The walk will be guided by Dennis Hawkes, a steward of the land and one of the leaders who helped protect this land. The walk will be approximately two miles on mostly flat terrain and last two hours.

Three Southern Maine Conservation Groups Merge Into Larger Land Trust

The new Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is expected to have greater reach.

Monday October 3, 2016
BY DEIRDRE FLEMING STAFF WRITER, Portland Press Herald | @FlemingPph | 207-791-6452

Three conservation groups have merged to form a group that’s expected to have a greater impact protecting land in southern Maine.

The merger of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, the Windham Land Trust and the Presumpscot River Watch is the latest in a trend in which conservation groups in Maine have combined resources.

The new organization will continue to be called the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. It will oversee 25 preserves covering 1,400 acres in Gray, Windham, Standish, Westbrook, Sebago and Gorham.

The group has two paid staffers who were employed by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.

The group also will conduct water testing along the Presumpscot River watershed and work with volunteers in the communities within the watershed, which also include Buxton, Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland and Raymond.

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust expands to 300 members with the merger, according to the executive director, Rachelle Curran Apse.

She expects the membership to swell as the new entity works to conserve more land in a greater area.

“We will be able to coordinate more volunteers through the watershed,” Curran Apse said. “By having the same staff oversee all the preserves, we have the capacity to look for more opportunities to talk with more people who are interested in conservation land.”

Apse said the new land trust’s coverage area touches a population of 125,000 residents in Greater Portland, and the population it will reach along the watershed is as large as 250,000.

Last year, four nonprofit conservation groups in midcoast Maine merged to form the Midcoast Conservancy, a land trust that now overseas more than 6,600 acres and has a membership of more than 1,300.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:
Twitter: FlemingPph




Three Local Conservation Groups Unify Into One Organization

The merger of Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Windham Land Trust, and Presumpscot River Watch will strengthen conservation efforts in the region

October 3, 2016
Contact Person: Rachelle Curran Apse, Executive Director of PRLT, 400-7154

Afterannual-meeting-2016-2 nearly a year of discussion, on October 2, 2016, members of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Windham Land Trust, and Presumpscot River Watch voted to merge as one organization with the name Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. The vote took place during an event at Randall Orchards in Standish.

The new mission is to suppoannual-meeting-2016-1rt healthy lands, waters, wildlife, and people across the Presumpscot River watershed through conservation, water quality monitoring, education, and public access.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust was founded in 1986 and has conserved land in Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Windham and Westbrook. Windham Land Trust was founded in 2000 and has conserved lands in Gorham, Gray, and Windham. The two organizations share much of the same coverage area, along with many members and values–making the two organizations a natural fit.

Priscilla Payne, Board Co-President of the Windham Land Trust, said, “I am excited about the merger with Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and Presumpscot River Watch. Working together, we will be able to have a greater impact on land conservation in the area, have more volunteers to be better able to steward all of our properties, and to continue to monitor the water quality of our streams and rivers. I see this as a merger of equals and members of all three organizations are serving in leadership roles. I think this is an excellent step going forward for all.”

Founded in 1989, Presumpscot River Watch uses volunteers to sample and test water quality at points on the Presumpscot River and its tributaries. With a shared commitment between the two land trusts of ensuring water quality, the inclusion of Presumpscot River Watch in the merger will help strengthen these important initiatives.

Fred Dillon, President of Presumpscot River Watch, said, “The Presumpscot River Watch has been using citizen scientists to monitor water quality in the main stem of the river and its many tributaries since 1989. Our monitoring results are used by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to determine compliance with state water quality standards. This merger represents an exciting and important evolution in enhancing our mission to protect and preserve the watershed for future generations.”

This past winter, board leadership discussed the possibility of merging organizations. After learning from the merger experiences of other Maine land trusts, the boards formed a merger committee with board members from all three organizations. Thanks to primary grant funding by Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Maine Community Foundation, and extensive pro bono legal services from Pierce Atwood and Douglas, McDaniel, Campo and Schools, the three organizations were able to fully review each other’s lands and financial reports, as well as create a merger agreement and new bylaws.

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust is committed to continuing the mission-based work of all three organizations. The unified organization has 25 conserved lands equaling about 1,400 acres–including 10 public access preserves with miles of trails and fishing access in the towns of Gorham, Gray, Sebago, Standish, Westbrook and Windham. The new organization will continue to coordinate the 28-mile Sebago to the Sea Trail project, and monitor water quality at 20 sites along the Presumpscot River and its tributaries.

Mike Parker, Board President of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, said, “This is a wonderful confluence of events and organizations. On the 30th anniversary of its existence, the newly merged Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has much to celebrate and will be a strong force in support of its broadened mission.”

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s Board of Directors will be composed of current board members from all three organizations. The staff will remain the same: Executive Director, Rachelle Curran Apse; and Stewardship and Outreach Coordinator, Toby Jacobs.

This merger and unification will help make the three organizations stronger and more sustainable ensuring not only the stewardship of conserved lands in perpetuity but also increased priority towards new conservation land and water quality in the Presumpscot River region.

Land trusts have been conserving land for a generation and have been very successful in protecting wildlife habitat and providing access for public recreation. In Maine, land trusts now hold more than twice as much land in conservation as all the state parks and public lands combined. But as conserved land continues to grow, so do the resources needed to steward these lands in perpetuity.

Recent mergers among land trusts in Maine have created stronger regional land trusts that have the capacity to address increasing stewardship needs. Some examples include: Midcoast Conservancy, Royal River Conservation Trust, Downeast Coastal Conservancy, and Blue Hill Heritage Trust.

The merger vote happened at the shared annual meeting on Sunday, October 2, at Randall Orchards in Standish. Randall Orchards is owned by the Randall family. As of 2014, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust now holds a 500 acre conservation and agricultural easement on the orchard and surrounding forest.

Additional contact information:,,,






Sunday October 2,  5 – 7 p.m.
Randall Orchard, Standish

Join the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Presumpscot River Watch, and Windham Land Trust for a celebration of conservation at our joint annual meeting. Come early and enjoy apple picking and tractor rides. Join us at 5pm for live music, appetizers and a cider pressing and tasting tour. This will be followed by a program celebrating conservation victories of all three organizations, with a short annual meeting, and ending with priority projects for the coming year.

The celebration will be at Randall Orchards, which is owned by the Randall family. As of 2014, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust now holds a 500 acre conservation and agricultural easement on the orchard and surrounding forest. We hope you can join us at Randall Orchards on October 2nd.