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Cape Elizabeth residents donate trail to land trust

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Cape Elizabeth residents donate trail to land trust

CAPE ELIZABETH — Following the recent purchase of Robinson Wood II, the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust has secured an easement for a trail connecting to the town's 7.5-mile greenbelt.

The new trail, donated by owners Kirk and Nancy St. John Pond, is only about 1,000 feet long, but it's an important connector to the cross-town trail, land trust Executive Director Chris Franklin said.

"While the size of this gift may appear small, it is one of those puzzle pieces that make the picture whole," Franklin said in an email. "Collectively, the trail system created by the town and the land trust, and our complement of conservation properties, are beginning to be linked together in ways that they really begin to complement one another in very important ways."

The trail is slated to be open this summer during daylight hours for education, running, hiking, walking and bicycling. In the winter it can also be used for cross-country skiing.

This trail donation will create a link between the Robinson Woods II property, purchased by the land trust in November for $1.1 million, and the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church land off Route 77.

Although another trail has connected this area for years, it bisected another trail that was not under easement and could be developed. Now, the trail has been bumped out to the edge of the property and is under permanent protection.

Combined with the 80-acre parcel known as Robinson Woods, bought by the trust in 2001, the recent purchase and the new trail donation add to the town's broad land preservation vision, which began in the mid-1970s.

This donation allows the land trust to preserve all but two parcels in the woods — the Methodist church property and a small parcel along the shore of Great Pond.

The church has always encouraged public use of their trail, Franklin said. The other property allows use, but does not have deeded public access.

"We still have ambitious goals for the future to further connect these properties and trail systems in ways that will enhance recreational access and provide meaningful habitat protections for now, and into the future," Franklin said.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.