Agreement Would Conserve Portland’s Canco Woods

An agreement has been reached to conserve a popular urban woodland along Canco Road in Portland’s Back Cove neighborhood, The Trust for Public Land announced today. The nearly 13-acre Canco Woods is a private property that has been used for decades by the public, with consent from the landowner, as an urban wild space and neighborhood park.

Earlier this year, when a group of neighbors discovered the property was for sale, they formed the Friends of Canco Woods with the vision to protect the property for public enjoyment and wildlife conservation.

“Preserving this sensitive ecosystem of woods and wetlands is a long-lasting investment in the environment and in the quality of life of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as the City of Portland, for present and future generations. We are thrilled to be working with TPL and Portland Trails to make this happen,” said Ben Bernard, President of Friends of Canco Woods.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, reached an agreement with Union Power and Water (UPW) to purchase the 12.75-acre property. While formal plans for the future of the property have not been finalized, the preferred outcome is for Portland Trails to own and manage the property, allowing it to become a key link by connecting existing trails on the property to the greater Portland trail network. TPL recently completed Bayside Trail with Portland Trails and they will partner on Canco Woods to continue to knit together Portland’s green spaces.

“The Trust for Public Land is grateful for the opportunity to work with the Friends of Canco Woods and Portland Trails to help protect this neighborhood asset in Maine’s largest city,” said Gregg Caporossi, a project manager for The Trust for Public Land. “Reaching agreement with the already generous landowners is the first step in that process, and we look forward to fully engaging with the Back Cove neighborhood and broader Portland community to let everyone know about this opportunity as we move forward.”

“Portland Trails couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the preservation of Canco Woods,” said, Kara Wooldrik, Executive Director of Portland Trails. “Working with the Trust for Public Land allows us to continue a great partnership; and the Friends of Canco Woods have come together swiftly and effectively to help make this happen. Having such a dedicated group of people willing to step up to protect this urban gem ensures an effective and committed stewardship effort for the future.”

The agreement gives the project partners until mid-November to raise $400,000 to acquire the property and create a stewardship endowment. Given the short option period, TPL anticipates raising those funds through private individuals and foundations.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. In Maine, TPL has protected more than 126,000 acres.

Portland Trails is a nonprofit urban land trust that preserves green space for public access and connects people with places. Since our founding in 1991, Portland Trials has been dedicated to creating a network of trails in greater Portland, Maine that is available to everyone free of charge.