Land trust conserves properties in Bath, Woolwich

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BATH — The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust has recently conserved 60.5 acres of property in Bath and Woolwich, including an historic island in the Kennebec River, and a family farm.

KELT purchased Varney Island, east of Varney Mill Road in Bath and west of Lines Island, on the Kennebec River’s west branch this summer. Also known as Black Island and Lemont’s Island, Varney Island is 3.5 acres and has an industrial history tied to land and water, according to the land trust.

The predominantly forested island is surrounded by intertidal wetlands and has a deep-water channel on the east side. Human use and disturbance has caused the island to have many invasive plants, but it still serves as a habitat for shore birds, eagles, deer and small mammals, KELT said in a press release last week.

Stephen DeWick, representing his family, recently donated a conservation easement for the 57-acre DeWick Farm on Phipps Point in Woolwich. A previous generation of that family purchased the farm from Lincoln Bailey 110 years ago.

The 57-acre property, which has shorelines on both Brookings and Montsweag bays, has a stream, mixed woodlands, open fields and tidal mudflats.

“The conservation easement along with continued forest management under my family’s stewardship, will assure this land remains undeveloped and natural for future generations,” DeWick said in the press release. “As a family we are proud to have made this commitment to protect our land.”

Carrie Kinne, KELT’s executive director, said the organization “is proud to protect and steward both of these beautiful places that represent the natural diversity of the lower Kennebec Estuary region.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.