CAPE ELIZABETH – The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust got its Christmas present early this year, but it wouldn’t have fit under the tree anyway.
Last week the land conservation nonprofit accepted a seven-acre shore-front parcel worth $2 million on paper, but much more to the citizens and shore birds who’ve been guaranteed that there will be no future development on the pocket cove now called the Trundy Point Reserve.
It was the most valuable single donation to the trust in its 23 year history, according to the organization.
Located in the Shore Acres neighborhood, Trundy Point is renowned for its signature stone outcropping – a vein of rock extending 100 yards into the water – and has been on CELT’s Christmas list since the organization’s inception in 1985.
“After all those years, it finally happened,” said Chris Franklin, executive director of CELT. After about a year of discussions initiated by the owner, Paul Coulombe, the donation was finalized this month.
Coulombe was so committed to the preservation of the land, said Franklin, that he actually removed an existing building on the property to help restore the point to its natural state.
Development of the property had long been considered by previous owners, but building permits proved a sticky issue, and at one point a court ruling overturned a permit that had been issued.
The question of building, at least, is settled once and for all, said Franklin. After receiving the property, the land trust issued a conservation declaration of trust for the parcel, which will permanently preserve it for public use and enjoyment fitting with its conservation.
Unadulterated coastal property, said Franklin, is a rare thing in southern Maine, where nearly every inch of it is off limits to the general public. Maintaining it, he said, will break up the local land use and look of the neighborhood, and give citizens “access to a small remnant” of coastal Maine.
It also provides safe habitat for creatures like the eider – a sea duck – which visit the protected cove each spring. In June, said Franklin, hundreds of day-old chicks can be seen there.
Trundy Point will be accessible for limited public use during daylight hours – an existing trail along the rock outcropping will be maintained by CELT – but no parking area is provided.