Campaign to open Clapboard Island hits milestones

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FALMOUTH — A three-season cottage on Clapboard Island is now available for purchase as part of a $1.6 million plan to open the island for public use.

The listing comes on the heels of a fundraising milestone for the effort, which now has $535,000 in cash and pledges.

The northeastern half of Clapboard Island, which lies about a mile off Falmouth Landing, has been on the market since 2011. Recently, the grassroots organization Friends of Clapboard Island and Maine Coast Heritage Trust negotiated a price of $1.4 million to buy 17 acres on the northeastern half of the island, which includes the cottage.

The deal expires in August, and the groups hope to raise an additional $200,000 for a stewardship endowment to maintain the property.

The cottage is listed at $769,000. The 3,156-square-foot home boasts five bedrooms and four baths with a “modern-ish design,” according to Keith Fletcher, project manager for Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

The cottage will be sold with 2.3 acres on the island and a smaller parcel on the mainland called The Grove, which provides parking for cottage owners, but will be placed under a permanent conservation easement as part of the deal.

Fletcher said the fundraising effort is going well.

On April 10, Maine Coast Heritage Trust announced an “all or nothing”$100,000 matching challenge from an anonymous group of donors. In February, the Town Council agreed to donate $200,000 toward the effort. The Pew Charitable Trust has pledged to match 20 percent of donations, up to $100,000.

If fundraising is successful, about 15 acres on the northern half of Clapboard Island will be placed under a conservation easement, but opened to daytime use by the public as soon as August.

The land, which includes several sand and pebble beaches along more than 4,000 feet of shoreline, would only be accessible via small, beach-able craft, such as canoes, kayaks and dinghies. There would be no overnight camping or campfires, but picnicking and bird-watching would be encouraged. Trails would also be built to accommodate hiking.

The Clapboard Island project will be the subject of several local fundraising events, including one for Falmouth mooring holders from 4-6 p.m. May 10 at the Dockside Grill, 215 Foreside Road, featuring live bluegrass music.

Ben McCanna can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow him on Twitter: @BenMcCanna.