Trust raises almost $1M to buy islands off Harpswell

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HARPSWELL — The Maine Coast Heritage Trust is poised to take ownership of The Goslings, a group of small islands near Harpswell in Casco Bay, after successfully raising $925,000 to buy and conserve the land. 

The state-wide land conservation nonprofit has spent the better part of four months raising money to buy the islands from the family of William E. and Jean R. Soule, who could have sold them to a private owner.

Now, MCHT intends to continue a generations-long tradition of public access to the islands and will take over responsibility for maintaining campsites and signs, and caring for the natural habitat in the new 50-acre preserve, the group said in a press release.

The sale was secured with help from more than 250 individual donors and major support from the Land for Maine’s Future program, L.L. Bean, the R.K. Mellon Foundation, Fisher Charitable Foundation, Libra Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.