CAPE ELIZABETH — The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust has acquired over 30 acres of land on Spurwink Avenue to be conserved and enjoyed by the public for years to come.
The purchase was made possible by a bridge loan from The Conservation Fund, which offers financing to land trusts and other organizations “aiming to protect key properties in their communities.” The land trust is now raising funds to pay back the loan and continued stewardship of the land.
The trust closed on the property Aug. 8. Executive Director Cindy Krum would not disclose how much the acquisition cost, but said it came in below the appraised value.
Those who’d like to contribute to the purchase can contact membership and development manager Patty Renaud at the office or by email at email@example.com.
The parcel, at 498 Spurwink Ave., is located between the CELT-owned Runaway Farm preserve and the Town’s Gull Crest property, which both allow public access. A name for the land has not been decided.
CELT board member Anne Carney, who is also a candidate in House District 30, said the trust is now focusing on building a land management plan, which will include a network of trails and connectivity to abutting land, expanding opportunity for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and more.
“We have to identify what we’re going to do and establish a plan and then stage out the work,” Carney said, meaning it could be a while before the land is open to the public.
For now, the land will be closed to the public and the trust asks that there be no trespassing until work is complete.
“We ask that the public give us a bit of time to make safety improvements and develop trails,” said CELT President Elizabeth Godspeed. “As always, we welcome volunteers interested in helping.”
The property includes a vacant home and greenhouse, forest, meadow and wetlands. The land, Carney said, used to be a farm.
“This is a really beautiful piece of property with a wide range of features,” Carney said. “It kind of has everything that makes Cape Elizabeth so beautiful: forest and fields and the marshland.”
While walking through the meadows with her two dogs on Tuesday, Carney pointed out a pond and Pollack Brook, which runs through the property.
“These wetlands make a great habitat,” she noted.
Carney said the forested area is especially beautiful.
“The deeper back you go the more magical it becomes,” she said. “It’s really dense woods … among the tall trees it feels like you’re just in a totally different world and it’s pretty magical.”
The trust plans to expand programming offered at their other preserves to the newly acquired land, such as guided snowshoe walks.
Those interested in getting the land ready for public use can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cape Elizabeth Land Trust board member Anne Carney walks her dogs through a 30-acre parcel of land the trust purchased earlier this month.